HEFEI - Tourist sites in mountainous areas are installing glass bridges to attract visitors looking for excitement.
Last month, a glass bridge called Flying Dragon in the Sky was opened in Marenqifeng scenic area in Wuhu, Anhui province. The area's management touts it as a "skyhigh" high-tech glass bridge that "combines cultural elements and a unique experience".
"There is a dragon made of fiber-reinforced plastics at both ends of the bridge, and smoke can billow from their mouths," said an employee at the site.
"The bridge also has LED displays on the surface, and when visitors step on the bridge the equipment will show images and make the sound of glass being shattered," they said. "It's very exciting."
The 388-meter bridge hangs 180 meters above the ground between two mountains in Marenqifeng, a national-level forest park and geopark.
Last month, a 488-meter suspension bridge was also opened in Pingshan county, Hebei province. The glass-bottom bridge is 4 meters wide and hangs between two cliffs around 218 meters above the ground, about as high as a 66-story building, at Hongyagu scenic spot.
In Zhangjiajie, a famous tourist destination in Central China, a 430-meter-long, 6-meter-wide bridge hangs between two steep cliffs 300 meters above the ground.
According to The Earth magazine, which is published by the Geological Museum of China, more than 60 glass bridges were being built or had been completed nation wide as of November 2016.
In 2017, more glass bridges appeared, particularly in provinces with mountains, such as Jiangxi, Hunan and Yunnan. These provinces boast at least five glass bridges on average. "Walking on a see-through bridge is both exciting and nerve-racking," said Li Jinxiang, a resident of Hefei, the capital of Anhui. "You get nervous with every step you take." The fervor for glass bridges has also led to viral videos recording tourists walking on the bridges, with many of them crying, laughing and lying on the bridges, refusing to walk on.
But the phenomenon has also raised a few eyebrows.
In Anhui's Anqing city, a glass-bottomed platform was built on a giant rock, the main attraction of the Jushi Mountains tourist area. Some argued that building such a structure could damage the natural scenery.
Yimu, a seasoned tourism expert, said the fervor behind the glass bridges needs to cool off.
"It is understandable to add some new elements to traditional tourist attractions, but it is also important not to damage the attractions," Yimu said. "Instead of blindly following the bridge-building trend, authorities should consider spending more money to improve tourism infrastructure at the tourist attractions."