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City to use cigar production to woo tourists

By Huang Zhiling | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-23 20:56

The city of Shifang in Southwest China's Sichuan province has its sights set on becoming a tourist destination centered on cigar production.

Daquankeng village in the city's Shigu town has the longest history of growing tobacco for cigar production in the country, and is responsible for growing China's best tobacco, according to Qing Wei, mayor of Shifang.

"Tourists can learn about growing tobacco and make cigars themselves in the village," said Qing, adding that they can also dabble in industrial tourism at the city's Great Wall Cigar Factory.

Located less than 10 kilometers from the village, the site is one of the State Tobacco Monopoly Bureau's four designated cigar-producing factories, and has produced cigars for about a century. It is best known for making cigars for former Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

To meet the demands of industrial tourism, Shifang will build a more than 4,000-square-meter museum showcasing the history, technology and culture of cigar production at the factory, which will have a European architectural style, Qing said.

Located in the northwest of the Chengdu Plain, Shifang is suitable for growing tobacco as it has a mild climate all year round, and abundant sunlight and rainfall. Its sun-cured tobacco was originally grown for the royal family during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).

To promote its cigar culture and cigar-related tourism, Shifang held a cigar festival from May 19 to 21, attracting cigar makers and enthusiasts from across the country.

Since their debut on the international market in the 1950s, the city's cigars have won many international awards, Qing said.

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