Compelling new all-for-one visits offer memorable experiences

Source:China Daily
Updated:2017-09-04 10:08:54

  Hunan province's region promotes top industrial standards, area's natural beauty

  Fenghuang county, one of the most popular travel destinations in central Hunan province, is promoting a compelling new kind of experience in China - 'all-for-one tourism' - in response to the changing demands of tourists.

  The concept of all-for-one tourism was mentioned by Premier Li Keqiang in the 2017 Government Work Report in March, to cater for the country's growing demand for tourism products and services, as well as to help boost its economic transition.

  The chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, Li Jinzao, proposed the all-for-one tourism concept in January last year.

  He said tourism has entered a new phase in which the traditional model of sightseeing cannot meet the needs of today's independent tourists who want to do things such as taking to the roads on their own and exploring, on self-driving holidays.

  "To develop all-for-one tourism, we will expand our portfolio of tourism products, enhancing the involvement of all the concerned parties in our community," said Yan Changwen, Party chief of Fenghuang.

  "We will improve tourism sites, promote and protect folk customs and culture, improve the quality of services and strengthen the government's administrative roles," Yan added.

  Fenghuang's authorities have decided to continue to promote a popular ancient tourist attraction, Fenghuang Ancient Town. They want to expand and upgrade the facilities there, and do the same for rural tourism and boost the quality of services, to support an all-for-one tourism development plan.

  Ancient town expansion

  Fenghuang Ancient Town, known for its well-preserved buildings from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), beautiful natural environment and the unique local ethnic culture, has long been serving as the core tourism site in Fenghuang.

  In peak seasons, such as the National Day holiday and school summer vacations, it is very common for over 30,000 tourists in a single day to flock into the 0.9 square kilometer old town, located besides the Toujiang River.

  The Fenghuang government is aware that the low capacity of local services, a lack of good amenities and a small tourism product portfolio have become the main factors constraining the development of its tourism industry.

  In addition, the local authorities see business homogenization as a major issue. The lack of a mechanism to promote local culture is also a key problem faced by the operators of the ancient town.

  "Enhancing the quality of services in the ancient town and promoting its expansion are the most important and urgent tasks for us," said Feng Chuanliang, director of the Tourism and Culture Bureau of Fenghuang.

  "The ancient city is already known for its Miao ethnic culture, so we have to of er something different," Feng added.

  The local authorities have decided to support the Fenghuang Ancient Town scenic area construction, centered around the Fenghuang Ancient Town, in the upcoming years.

  More local cultural demonstration spots will be built on the lower reaches of the Tuojiang River, and a tourism resort will be built upstream.

  In addition, Fenghuang will continue to promote the nearby Nanhua Mountain development, where a number of tourism projects are being established, to serve people's different preferences.

  Promoting rural tourism

  The Fenghuang authorities have long been promoting rural tourism, to attract tourists elsewhere, aiming to reduce the operational pressures on the Fenghuang Ancient Town and strengthen its protection.

  "Rural tourism will help to promote local culture and offer people the chance to appreciate the beautiful natural scenery of Fenghuang," said Huang Wucai, deputy head of Fenghuang county.

  Ming Cheng Co, which specializes in countryside tourism resources development and operation, was established by the Fenghuang government in 2010.

  The company bought 18 privately owned countryside tourism sites in 2012 for over 50 million yuan ($7.52 million), aiming to regulate the local countryside tourism market and better protect local tourism resources.

  Over the past few years, Ming Cheng has developed several tourism products which allow people to explore the beauties of traditional Miao ethnic culture, learn more about the Great Wall in southern China and its related culture, and to enjoy leisure tours.

  General Manager Zhang Shunxin said that Fenghuang's rural tourism industry handled more than 1.4 million people last year. He said total income from the rural tourism sector reached 105 million yuan in 2016.

  "We expect to see earnings increasing to 200 million yuan in 2017," Zhang said.

  Ming Cheng has partnered with leading tourism service providers and operators, such as Orient Landscape in Beijing, to get inspiration for the long-term development of Fenghuang's tourism industry, according to Zhang.

  Services upgrade

  The local authorities have vowed to speed up improvements in the quality of services there and to invest significantly in the upgrade and construction of new facilities for services in the coming years.

  A Tourists Service Center, costing about 1 billion yuan and located in the northern part of Fenghuang, will start operating in October. The transportation system will also be streamlined for tourists.

  There will be three new five-star hotels in the region and more than 1,000 homestay service providers by the end of 2019. So far, there is only a single four-star hotel as well as three three-star hotels in the city.

  A smart parking system will also be installed, so self-driving tourists can book their parking lots in the county before arriving, which will help to solve congestion problems.

  Fenghuang county, located in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture, started to foster its tourism industry in 2001.

  Tourism has become a pillar industry, which has strongly supported the city's economic growth over the past 16 years. Total earnings from tourism industry reached 11.6 billion yuan in 2016, a dramatic increase from earnings of just 74.3 million yuan in 2001.