Hubei Is Unveiling Its New Tourism Attractions
In recent years, the number of overseas tourists visiting Hubei has increased by over 40 percent and the average staying time has increased by five times. Travel brands have become more and more influential both at home and abroad.
Walking down the streets of Wuhan, you can often see foreign tour groups. Tourists look around curiously with smiles on their faces and cameras on their shoulders.
Nowadays, more and more foreign tourists choose to go further into the heartland of China and explore the beauty of Jing-chu culture. However, five years ago, they might have never heard of “Hubei.”
What is it that has attracted more and more tourists to stay here and enjoy the beauty of Jing- chu culture, making Hubei more and more famous over the past five years?
Converting from tourist origin to tourist destination, Hubei attracts tourists from all over the world
In the past few years, the most popular country for the people of Hubei Province to travel is Thailand. However, nowadays, Hubei attracts tourists from this famous tourist destination.
Since the establishment of the inbound tourism
popularization with Thailand in 2016, the number of Thai tourists has increased tremendously and the figure is expected to increase by over 50 percent this year. Hubei Jiacheng International Travel Agency alone has received over 3,000 Thai tourists in 2017. “If it weren’t for the limited airplane seats, there would be more tourists.” Ma Cheng, the deputy general manager of the travel agency said with confidence.
These campaigns don’t only go on in Thailand— Hubei Province has also set up inbound tourism popularization combination in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. The promotion of short- haul inbound tourism has covered all of Southeast Asia. Direct round- trip flights between Hubei and Singapore and Hubei and Bangkok have achieved 85 percent seat occupancy. Tourism accounts for 90 percent.
Hubei is ‘ Going Out’ faster than ever before. Promotions get popular whenever they go to a new place. The influence and attractiveness of Hubei’s tourism is getting stronger. It has become an important name card of Hubei’s image. According to the assessments of CVSC-TNS RESEARCH, CTV Golden Bridge and Century Media, Hubei’s tourism brand impact has jumped up to the top 5 in China.
Within the last five years, the number of overseas tourists visiting Hubei has increased by over 40 percent. The number of visitors from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong has increased by over 50 percent.
In “going through the city tours,” tourists stay here for as long as 22 days
At 8 a. m., American tourist Tom went to Hankou Riverside Park to do Tai Chi (shadow boxing) with local residents. Then, accompanied by his tour guide, he went to Jiangsan Market at Hanjiang Road to buy food like Wuhan citizens. After that, Tom went to Wuhan No. 1 Business School to learn how to cook Hubei cuisine from the chef. Then, he took the ferry across the Yangtze River to see the Yellow Crane Tower and taste authentic Hubei cuisine.
It’s the one- day schedule designed by Hubei Datang International Travel Agency for an American group they received this year. More than 500 American tourists in 15 such groups get to experience “local life” instead of just sightseeing. “The tourists’ demands are different now. They are not only interested in scenic spots, but also eager to know more about local conditions and customs. Our in- depth travel projects are so appealing to overseas tourists that they would like to spend more time in Hubei.” Yu Xiaoqi from the agency said.
Data shows, over the past five years, the average time overseas tourists spent in Hubei has increased five- fold. Travel agencies in Hubei receive groups that stay from 8 days to 22 days. The number of foreign visitors that stay extra long has increased from 200- 300 people to around 10 thousand. According to the manager of one agency, the most popular tour packages are the 8- day and 15- day journeys covering Wuhan, Yichang, Enshi, Shiyan, and Shenlongjia. Taiwanese tourists particularly favor the 22- day journey. They call it “traveling thoroughly around Hubei.”
Explore new blue ocean of tourism by cross-border integration
Here come the overseas study groups from Malaysia and New Zealand. Hubei has become a first stop for foreign teenagers to know more about China.
In such programs, teenagers from New Zealand, for example, will stay in Wuhan for 6 days. The first 3 days they go sightseeing, taste local food, and watch local shows. The other 3 days they stay in Wuhan Shenlong Primary School’s students’ homes- eating, living, and studying with them.
According to Shi Bo, the manager of Hubei Xudong International Travel Agency, New Zealand is going to take Hubei Province as a foothold of Chinese culture study tours. More and more overseas study groups are going to visit Hubei. The market prospect is promising.
Having excellent natural environmental and educational advantages, Hubei's study tour program is now internationally recognized. The “travel+ education+ internship” project from Hubei Jiangxin Travel Agency is well received by customers in Hong Kong and Macao. Not just study tours, but also custom tours, ancestry sacrifice tours, flower tours, village tours, and so on. Crossborder integration has upgraded the tourism industry, attracted more tourists, and are building up a blue ocean market.
Traditional attractions are also carrying on supply- side reform. The Three Gorges tour that was popular overseas for a time has faced the decline of the number of visitors while the upgraded Jingchu culture tour has now become a great new attraction.
“Our tourists are mainly from North America, Europe, and Australia. Years of branding makes them familiar with The Three Gorges, but traditional tourism products cannot satisfy their needs anymore. Nowadays, we add more cultural elements to our tourism activities. Tourists can watch shows, walk down the local streets and enjoy the cityscape in Wuhan. They also can touch the ancient city walls and see the beautiful landscape of Hanjiang River Valley Plain in Jinzhou. They can have various kinds of experience.” Zou Gongping, the manager of Hubei Huajing, said. The upgraded tourism products brought them a handsome income. It is estimated that the number of overseas tourists they received is at the top of the list in Hubei Province. They now accommodate 35 thousand tourists from 40 countries and regions around the world every year.
Foreign tourists are attending the Boat- Trackers Tourism Festival held in Shennongxi
古德寺 The Gnde Temple摄影 / 石海 Photo by Shi Hai