Stepping foot on Guizhou (a must-see destination for China travel deals) soil can bring the sensation of entering a massive park, rich with natural attractions such as Huangguo-shu Waterfall and Fanjing Mountain, not to mention Chinese revolutionary spots including the Site of Zunyi Conference and the place where the Red Army crossed the Chishui River four times. Additionally, Guizhou boasts a broad spectrum of ethnic culture with mysterious features. All these factors make the province “a tourist paradise.”
However, due to its unique climate and geography which are both described in a single local saying -- “Don’t expect more than three fine days in a row or more than one mile of flat land” -- economic development in the province has lagged far behind others in China. In 2011, Guizhou’s per capita GDP ranked at the bottom. The underdeveloped economy has caused a lack of investment in public facilities for a very long period of time, which has in turn limited development of local tourism.
According to a spokesperson from the Tourism Administration of Guizhou Province (TAG), local tourism in China is greatly hindered by three major problems: The first is a lack of integrated tourist resources, so the structure of tourist products is imbalanced, causing an inability to satisfy fast growing demand. Secondly, public tourist facilities are underdeveloped. In some important scenic areas, management models are still backward and service quality of tourist enterprises still needs to be improved. Thirdly, they lack updated tourism marketing methods and industry talent.
To promote Guizhou’s economic and social development, in early 2012 the State Council issued a document outlining goals for Guizhou’s tourism industry, namely construction of innovative cultural tourism development areas and transformation of the province into a top destination both domestically and internationally. The document also noted the goals to develop Huangguoshu Waterfull, Libo County, Fanjing Mountain, Leigong Mountain and several other sites into top tourist spots, while creating tourist programs that integrate folk customs with natural attractions. Guizhou, also notable for its diverse ethnic groups, is regarded as a province rich with unique tourist resources coveted by other regions. The document has already been driving Guizhou’s tourism development.
The provincial government has listed tourism as a “strategic pillar industry” along with tobacco, wine, tea and Miao herbal medicine. At the Sixth Tourism Industry Development Conference, the province further clarified its local tourism development target: to bring well-developed tourism, build strong tourist attractions, and transform the tourism industry into a modern service industry that will enable local people to escape poverty and find prosperity.
“Great changes will soon happen to the tourism industry in Guizhou,” predicts Li Sanqi, vice chairman of TAG. By 2020, the province will have more than 100 AAAA scenic spots and scenic areas capable of accommodating over 1 million visitors annually will increase to 30, according to the Ecological and Cultural Tourism Development Plan to be released late this month.
Industry insiders reveal that the plan will include construction projects as well as tourism products, but large-scale comprehensive tourism is a priority. Guizhou is already the desination for popular China tour package.
“Domestic as well as overseas investors have already come to discuss projects,” Li adds. “They came just as we started drafting plans. This is just the beginning, and I think more will come.”
In the first half of 2012, Guizhou already realized tourism revenue of 62 billion yuan, a 35 percent increase over the same period last year, and welcomed 78.87 million arrivals, a 32 percent increase. “These two big increases can be attributed to the transformation and upgrade of tourist industry in the province,” explains TAG Chairman Fu Yingchun. “With optimized quantity, quality, and structure of growth, the tourism economy of Guizhou can be expected to continue this growing momentum.”
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Guizhou: Travel Fast Track