Jincheng’s appeal is carefully crafted
Jincheng, a city located in southern Shanxi province, has seen great progress in its tourism industry over the past few years.
According to official data, more than 17 million tourists visited Jincheng in 2012, an increase of more than 68 percent compared to the previous year.
The rapid development of Jincheng’s tourism industry is very well-known in China, where it is called the “Jincheng phenomenon”.
This is because the local government has put great efforts into integrating the city’s traditional culture with modern elements, said Liang Hongbing, the director of Jincheng’s tourism bureau.
“We are building a new tourism culture based on the city’s historical and cultural heritage,” said Liang.
He cited Tiangong Mansion as a great example of this approach.
Although the mansion does not have an advantageous location, it has great historical value and its rich cultural heritage draw tourists from all over the country.
The area where the mansion is located was also home to well-known Chinese scholars and politicians, such as Wang Guoguang (1512-1594), a renowned politician in the Ming Dynasty (1366-1644).
However, relying only on culture and history will not be enough for the continued development of the tourism industry.
Winter is the traditional offseason for Shanxi’s tourism industry except for few scenic spots that have hot springs.
Liang said it is important that the local hotels, travel agencies and scenic spots cooperate with each other and think “creatively” to promote the winter tourism industry.
Jincheng Taihang Mountain Passion Warm Winter Festival, for instance, is now popular with tourists during the winter months.
There are a variety of activities promoted during the festival, including appreciating the terrific views of snow-covered mountains and participating in traditional events.
The government has also been using advertising to boost tourism.
In 2012, the local government invested 166 million yuan ($55 million) on advertisements promoting Jincheng as a tourist destination, this year, it spent another 170 million yuan.
Images of Jincheng, including major scenic spots, were shown on China’s State-owned TV Channel, Central China Television, for four consecutive days at the beginning of this year.
“Choosing CCTV as the main platform to promote Jincheng’s city image has been very important for promoting the city’s culture and environment,” Liang said.
“The country’s largest and most mainstream TV station can make more people get a better idea of Jincheng,” he added.
In addition, Jincheng’s tourism administrators are also willing to learn from other cities’ experiences, especially those cities located in the delta region of the Changjiang River.
“Learning from these cities is not simply copying them. More importantly, we learn their attitude and their mode of thinking,” Liang said.
“We are located in Shanxi, but we can learn from Shanghai, and then bring the new ideas back to the central part of the country. That’s how we develop the tourism industry and makes Jincheng stand out from the rest of the cities in central China,” Liang said.
The Baili Park, an ecological garden located in the downtown area, is a well-known scenic spot of the city.
A waterfall in the Mang River Tourist Area.
Wangmang mountain, surrounded by clouds, is the birthland of many Chinese ancient tales.