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Eco-travel crucial to industry growth

By Fu Chao ( China Daily )

Updated: 2015-06-26

A mountainous province in Southwest China, Guizhou is renowned for its cultural diversity and pristine natural beauty. The province is trying to highlight characteristics unique to the province to boost its eco-tourism industry.

"Eco-civilization is the concept we are using to pursue social and economic development", said Zhao Kezhi, chief of the CPC Guizhou committee, during the annual two sessions in 2013.

"Any development projects that have the possibility of damaging our environment will be shut down," Zhao added.

Fu Yingchun, director of the province's tourism bureau, said in an interview with Guizhou Daily that the province has valuable experience to offer the country's tourism industry and is exploring the eco-tourism landscape as it tries to contribute to the country's development in an environmentally conscious way.

In 2012, the province compiled a report on the planning of Guizhou's ecological and cultural tourism. The report offers inspiration for Guizhou and other places around China to develop eco-tourism.

Fu said tourism is the best way to present the province's diverse ethnic cultures and scenic beauty to the world.

Guizhou's fresh air, lush green forests flanking roads throughout the province and pleasant temperatures in both summer and winter make it an ideal destination for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Fu said such ecological resources should become something more people can enjoy.

Tourism as an industry relies highly on the environment so should be eco-friendly in order to be sustainable, Fu said. Eco-tourism is the future of the tourism industry, he added.

Eco-travel crucial to industry growth

During the past few years, Guizhou's eco-tourism has embraced a range of strategies. Since 2012, the many impoverished villages in the province started to develop rural tourism and established modern vegetable farms and orchards to combat poverty and improve the quality of life for residents. The provincial government has also invested in infrastructure building in the villages.

The provincial government has hosted a tourism development conference since 2006, each year in a different city. The conference promotes local tourism destinations and also seeks new ways to integrate tourism resources.

The province is working on developing and promoting "fast and slow tourism", which allows tourists to go on well-designed ecological and cultural routes with convenient transportation and accommodation, Fu said.

Traffic used to be one of the biggest concerns for the local tourism industry in the province's mountainous area.

The capital city, Guiyang, implemented a series of projects to strengthen its traffic network, such as a new terminal at the Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport and a high-speed railway connecting Guiyang to South China's Guangzhou province.

According to a development plan from the city government, 120 hotels will be renovated to provide better service by 2017 and luxury hotels will also be introduced.

"Our goal is to make sure Guizhou becomes an interactive tourism destination, not just a pit stop," Fu said.

The tourism bureau director said the number of "ecological elements" and how well they are preserved and presented to tourists are selling points of "slow tourism" products.

"The focus on 'green' will not only trigger new consumption needs, but also improve people's awareness of environmental protection. The market for eco-tourism is huge," he said.


 Eco-travel crucial to industry growth

A grand folk chorus of the Dong people, a polyphonic choral tradition of the ethnic group who mostly live in Guizhou province. Provided To China Daily

 Eco-travel crucial to industry growth

A wind-rain bridge, created by Dong people, is covered with pavilions and protects walkers from the rain. Yang Shizhong / China Daily

 Eco-travel crucial to industry growth

Miao people play the Mangtong, aninstrument popular with ethnic groups in Guizhou. Huang Xiaohai / For China Daily

 Eco-travel crucial to industry growth

The historic Zunyi Meeting Memorial Hall, where Chairman Mao Zedong regained his leadership during the Long March period. Li Xianjin / For China Daily

 Eco-travel crucial to industry growth

A bird's eye view of Guiyang's Guanshanhu district. Provided To China Daily

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