Jiangxi dis­cov­ers way ahead for tourism sec­tor

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - By MAZHIPING

Ijoined the long lines of Chi­nese and for­eign vis­i­tors at the Bei­jing Cap­i­talMu­seum over the week­end for a close look at the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal finds from the tomb ofHai­hunMar­quis Li­uHe (92-59 BC), who has be­come a house­hold name in just a few­months since De­cem­ber, when ar­chae­ol­o­gists con­firmed the iden­tity of his tomb in Nan­chang, cap­i­tal of Jiangxi prov­ince.

Be­ing a his­tor­i­cally unique and­mys­te­ri­ous fig­ure, the mar­quis died at the age of 33 and was the only vic­tim in Chi­nese his­tory who changed iden­ti­ties from a king to an em­peror, stayed in the post for only 27 days, and was then de­throned to a king and then a mar­quis as a re­sult of a po­lit­i­cal power strug­gle.

The mar­quis’ tomb is cur­rently the largest found, the best pre­served with most abun­dant cul­tural trea­sures and most typ­i­cal tomb struc­ture of theWesternHan Dy­nasty (202 BC-AD 8), then the most pros­per­ous coun­try in the world.

The rich­ness, fine sit­u­a­tion, su­perb value and com­plex pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy and skills of the em­peror’s seal, gold and sil­ver items, jade jew­elry, char­i­ots, bells and many other items, have shocked and amazed ar­chae­ol­o­gists since the ex­ca­va­tion be­gan in 2011.

On show are more than 400 of the relics un­earthed so far, which dis­play the ex­trav­a­gancy of the life­style of the aris­to­crats and the marvel and glory of Chi­nese cul­ture more than 2,000 years ago.

The six-month-long exhibition, due to close at the end of June, al­lows vis­i­tors to imag­ine how grand the na­tional ar­chae­o­log­i­cal park will be when all of the relics, so far more than 20,000 pieces have been un­cov­ered, are on dis­play at the site of the tomb of the Hai­hun mar­quis in­Nan­chang.

Jiangxi au­thor­i­ties, who have pub­li­cized their lo­cal trea­sures with a holis­tic tourism per­spec­tive, said they have pro­posed to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to ap­ply for the an­cient site as aWorld Cul­tur­alHer­itage site. And they are learn­ing from Italy’s ex­pe­ri­ence in re­pair­ing the Pom­peii his­tor­i­cal site, which has at­tracted thou­sands of vis­i­tors ev­ery­day since it was re­built last year.

I think that Chi­nese ar­chae­ol­o­gists and the pub­lic as well, are happy to see that the Jiangxi gov­ern­ment is think­ing big with an in­ter­na­tional vi­sion and ac­tively pre­par­ing to build its unique his­tor­i­cal trea­sure into a world-class at­trac­tion.

Prompted by years of sound eco­nomic devel­op­ment, China has en­tered the era of mass tourism. Ac­cord­ing to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), the coun­try’s to­tal an­nual tourism ser­vice con­sump­tion will reach 5.5 tril­lion yuan ($850 bil­lion) and ur­ban and ru­ral res­i­dents will each make an av­er­age of 4.5 tourism-re­lated vis­its ev­ery year.

The five-year tar­gets will not be a very big chal­lenge as do­mes­tic en­thu­si­asm is grow­ing fast and to­tal con­sump­tion hit 4 tril­lion yuan and in­vest­ment topped 1 tril­lion yuan in 2015, about 10 per­cent of the na­tion’s an­nual GDP.

But I have felt the ur­gency for sup­ply-side re­form by the tourism in­dus­try to cope with peo­ple’s need for qual­ity re­sorts and leisure ser­vices and the in­ten­si­fy­ing in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion for a big­ger share in the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

The fo­cus should be on up­grad­ing and de­vel­op­ing tourist at­trac­tions and ser­vices of world in­flu­ence but with strong and unique Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. A cre­ative mar­ket­ing strat­egy should also be on top of the in­dus­try’s agenda to pro­mote the coun­try’s his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and nat­u­ral re­sources and help turn them into im­pres­sive and com­pet­i­tive brand names.

Jiangxi’s open ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tion, a cre­ative ap­proach taken to help in­crease pub­lic aware­ness, re­spect and pro­tec­tion of his­tory and cul­tural heritage, and its care­ful ef­forts and plan to tap and de­velop its his­tor­i­cal re­sources into an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal re­search and tourism project of world recog­ni­tion, can be food for thought for lo­cal govern­ments and com­pa­nies in de­vel­op­ing and mar­ket­ing their tourist re­sources.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts from the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cul­tur­alHer­itage, ex­ca­va­tion of theHai­hun mar­quis tomb has been con­ducted with world-class heritage stan­dards and ad­vanced pro­tec­tion engi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy, which is mak­ing a sound foun­da­tion for a great na­tional park. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin later this year and be com­pleted in five years.

I ex­pect pub­lic in­ter­est in theHai­hun mar­quis tomb will grow along with new­sur­prises from the on­go­ing ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tion, and the build­ing of the na­tional park, “China’s Pom­peii”, will even­tu­ally at­tract mas­sive num­bers of tourists to Jiangxi.

Con­tact the writer at mazhi ping@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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