International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge (center) danced with local Naxi people during a visit to Lijiang in August last year. Zhang Wenyin
What fascinates tourists from home and abroad about the ancient city of Lijiang? Its ethnic culture offers the answer.
After Lijiang was listed as a World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site in December 1997, the 800-year-old city came back to vigor and vitality.
UNESCO praised Lijiang for its remarkable achievements in protecting the ancient city and held it up as a good example of heritage protection for China and the Asia-Pacific region.
Due to protection and management, Lijiang has promoted the rational development of the tourism industry and the entire local society.
According to the official statistics, in 2007, per capital gross domestic product (GDP) in Lijiang reached 17,000 yuan and the city's fixed-asset investment surpassed 6 billion yuan.
Tertiary industries, with the tourism sector as the mainstay, account for over 50 percent of the GDP, compared with Yunnan province's average of 39.4 percent. Thirteen percent of the residents' income comes from the tourism industry.