Jincheng’s ap­peal is care­fully crafted

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By SUN RUISHENG in Taiyuan

sun­ruisheng@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A wa­ter­fall in the Mang River Tourist Area.

Wang­mang moun­tain, sur­rounded by clouds, is the birth­land of many Chi­nese an­cient tales.

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