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Natural beauty and abundant tourism resources

China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-10 08:37

Known for its natural beauty and abundant tourism resources, Hunan is becoming one of the most popular tourism destinations nationwide and attracting visitors from around the world.

The province in Central China is rich in cultural and natural heritage sites. They include Fenghuang Gucheng, or Phoenix ancient town, which is among China's most beautiful ancient towns; Hengshan Mountain, one of the five most renowned mountains in the country; Yueyang Tower, depicted in a well-known Song Dynasty (960-1279) essay; and Yuelu Academy, one of the four major private institutions of higher education during the Song Dynasty, among others.

The Yuelu Academy has served as an institute for higher education since its establishment in 976.

The academy on the western bank of the Xiangjiang River, has been an educational institution for more than 1,000 years. It focuses on Confucian education and is said to be the oldest academy of its type still in existence in the world. The school evolved into the Hunan Institute of Higher Learning in 1903 and is now part of Hunan University.

In recent years, the province has expanded tourism development and made efforts to improve its infrastructure and attract more visitors from home and abroad.

According to the Hunan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, the province received 753 million visits last year, up 12.5 percent year-on-year. The revenue generated by the tourism industry grew 16.5 percent to 835.6 billion yuan ($116.7 billion) last year.

The added value of tourism in Hunan reached 233.1 billion yuan last year, accounting for 6.12 percent of the province's GDP.

Last year, the province was listed as one of the world's "top 10 best-value destinations to tempt frugal travelers" by Lonely Planet, a leading travel guide publisher. The Lonely Planet guide book cites Zhangjiajie for its "amazing sandstone canyon with almost 250 bizarrely shaped peaks" and "the world’s longest glass bridge opened in 2016".

According to local statistics, there are nine 5A-rated and 104 4A-rated tourism sites in Hunan. The province plans to build another 20 4A- and 5A-rated cultural tourism scenic spots, 30 cultural tourism industrial parks and 100 cultural tourism towns as well as 50 cultural tourism projects with 1 billion yuan investment in the next three years.

To date, the province's forest coverage has reached 58.92 percent, ranking sixth nationwide. Of 14 cities across the province, nine have won the honor of national forest city.


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