Knowing All about Hunan

Tantalizing, relaxing place embraces new norm of tourist sector

Updated:2018-05-18 10:28:43

  Chenzhou, the thriving city in the southeastern part of the province of Hunan, is implementing the "new norm" of tourism development, aiming to create a new engine for local economic growth, officials said.

  The new norm involves the integration of resources of various areas and various industries and is termed by local authorities as "all-in-one tourism".

  Featuring a picturesque lake, green mountains, idyllic farms, hot springs and unique local culture, the city has a lot to offer tourists.

Tantalizing, relaxing place embraces new norm of tourist sector

  A remarkable example of its all-in-one tourism is the Dongjiang Lake scenic area in the east of the city.

  The lake is one of the largest reservoirs in Hunan, which was built for power generation, irrigation and flood reduction.

  Local tourism authorities and businesses recognized its potential several years ago and transformed the area into a major tourist attraction of the province.

  After the dam blocked the waters, the former gorge of the Dongjiang River became a tranquil lake. It now offers tourists a range of experiences such as sightseeing, expeditions and relaxation.

  Local farmers, who lost their lands to the reservoir, now have new sources of revenue.

  Family inns and B&Bs have flourished in the scenic area, offering a rustic experience to urban visitors.

  Dongjiang Lake was rated a 5A scenic area - China's highest-level - in 2015 because of its growing reputation and improved facilities.

  As a result, the number of visitors increased substantially, causing a shortage in catering facilities - existing hotels and restaurants couldn't keep pace with the demands for accommodation, dining, transportation, shopping and leisure activities.

  Aware of the problem, locals who used to work outside their hometown have now returned to start up their own catering businesses.

  Many of them have opened family inns, using renovated residential buildings and even old factories.

  Today, there are a total of 36 family inns positioned around Dongjiang Lake.

  Li Yangquan is an owner of a family inn, located in an idyllic setting of a quietly flowing brook, a traditional-styled bridge, a shaded path and Dongjiang Lake not far away.

  "With a slow-paced life, tranquil surroundings and picturesque views, we offer a place of seclusion for tourists," Li said.

  In the remote areas of Chenzhou, tourism is used as an effective means for targeted poverty alleviation.

  Rucheng county at the southeastern tip of Chenzhou was a major base for the Red Army in the 1920s and 1930s.

  The landlocked county has been one of the underdeveloped and poverty-stricken areas in Chenzhou for several decades.

  Today, the local authorities have successfully turned the county into a tourism destination, attracting visitors with the legacies left behind by the Red Army more than eight decades ago.

  Shazhou village is the site of the real story of "the half blanket".

  According to the story, when three female Red Army soldiers visited a family named Xu, they were shocked by their poor life - the family did not have a single blanket to keep warm in winter.

  They soldiers cut their own blankets into halves, leaving one half of each to the family.

  The story, showing the close relations between the Red Army and the people, is used for a live show staged in the village, helping attract tourists.

Tantalizing, relaxing place embraces new norm of tourist sector