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Cooperation declaration to promote "Shangri-la"
Updated: 2004-10-14 14:06

Three Southwest Chinese regions have vowed to go beyond the restrictions caused by administrative demarcation and work together in turning "Shangri-la" into a world-class tourist destination.

Shangri-la is said to be a popular Tibetan word for "sun and moon in the heart," or an ideal, enchanting wonderland.

A declaration of cooperation was signed by the governmental representatives of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and Tibet Autonomous Region on Tuesday after full consultations.

With the signing of the declaration titled "Step up cooperation, Work together to turn China's Shangri-la into a world tourism brand name," "chaotic" battles among the three regions will be put an end and construction of a broad-based Shangri-la eco-tourism zone will begin, said industry experts.

The zone covers 50 counties in nine prefectures at the junction of Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet, and includes the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Diqing in Yunnan, Qamdo Prefecture and Nyingchi County in Tibet, and Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan.

Shangri-la became world-renowned after British writer James Hilton published his book "Lost Horizon" in 1933.

In order to develop their local economies, Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet had all played the "Shangri-La" card, each claiming that the real Shangri-la was in its own region.

In 2001, Tibet Autonomous Region put forward a proposal that the three regions should optimize all Shangri-la tourism resources and promote them as one.

The proposal was welcomed by the other two. Two meetings of coordination about the establishment of China Shangri-la Ecological Tourism Zone were convened in 2002 and 2003, but without substantial progress.

Wang Huichen, deputy governor of Sichuan Province, said that the cooperation of the three regions in tourism would help reduce cost of the tourism industry, enlarge the tourist market and improve the efficiency of tourism development.

Concerted efforts have been made by the three partners in the past years to improve transportation and connecting sites in the three regions, laying down a good foundation for the establishment of the Shangri-la eco-tourism zone, said Wang.

Shao Qiwei, deputy governor of Yunnan Province, said that greater efforts should also be made by the three partners to open the tourism market to each other so that a barrier-free tourism zone will take shape in southwest China.

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