Regional/ News

Oasis of natural beauty opening up to tourists

By Hao Nan | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-11-26 08:46

Northwest China's Qinghai province is increasing efforts to allow more people from across the world to learn about its natural beauty and unique culture.

The province got its name from Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake, said Wang Jianjun, local Party secretary.

Since ancient times, whenever people mention Qinghai Lake they think of "green lake", "blue sea" or "fairyland" due to its picturesque scenery.

Qinghai is the source of three of China's most important rivers: the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang. The first two are known as the mother rivers of China. The Lancang (or Mekong) is one of the most important water systems in Asia. It flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before joining the South China Sea.

 Oasis of natural beauty opening up to tourists

From left: A vast of photovoltaic panels work at a solar power farm in Qinghai. The province has rich resources in developing renewable energy. A sea of rape flowers in Menyuan county, Qinghai attracts tourists and photographers. Provided to China Daily. Tibetan antelopes are among the rare species living in Qinghai's Keke Xili (Hoh Xil) National Nature Reserve. Zhou Jingquan / For China Daily

With a total area of 720,000 square kilometers, the province boasts more than 5,000 lakes and 4,200 rivers. Annually it supplies some 60 billion cubic meters of freshwater to lower reaches, benefiting millions of people, data from the provincial government show.

Qinghai is located on the "planet's third pole" - the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The plateau has the world's largest stretches of alpine wetlands, grasslands, shrubs, forests and other ecosystems.

Green and blue space accounts for more than 70 percent of the total area. The plateau was reputed to be one of four ultraclean areas in the world by UNESCO, Wang said.

Qinghai boasts the richest biodiversity among high-altitude regions internationally. The total value of the province's ecological resources reaches nearly 19 trillion yuan ($2.73 trillion), he noted.

In 2015, the Sanjiangyuan National Park was set to be located in Qinghai. This made it one of the first provinces in China to carry out a pilot program for the national park system. In August this year, the province held China's first forum on national parks in its capital city, Xining.

The two-day event attracted more than 450 representatives of regulatory agencies, experts and scholars from home and abroad. They discussed topics including construction and management of nature reserves, biodiversity protection and the future of natural heritage sites.

"The success of the forum has opened a new window for Qinghai to connect with the country and the world," Wang said.

In addition to its natural beauty, the province is home to abundant mineral and energy resources. The potential value of proven minerals, including metal, petroleum and shale gas, now reaches about 105 trillion yuan. The Chaerhan Salt Lake is the largest of its kind in China and second-largest in the world, with salt reserves of more than 60 billion metric tons.

Moreover, Qinghai's proven lithium reserves reach 17.24 million tons, accounting for 83 percent of China's total and 60 percent globally. The province is also one of China's demonstration provinces in the clean energy sector.

Having a mixed culture, such as Hehuang and Regong, Qinghai has developed into an important national ethnic cultural protection and tourist destination.

"We have organized several international activities like a cycling race, a swimming competition across the Yellow River and a poetry festival. They have raised Qinghai's reputation and expanded its influence," said Liu Ning, governor of Qinghai.

For years, both the number of tourists and tourism revenue in the province have had an annual growth rate of 20 percent.

"We will create a series of tourism activities that will break the seasonal restrictions, such as self-driving tours, culinary trips and a journey highlighting folk customs and intangible cultural heritage," Liu added.

Opening up to the outside world, Qinghai has formed comprehensive road and high-speed rail networks. It also facilitates routes linking seven countries and region, as well as 107 domestic destinations.

The province has gradually become a transport hub linking China's east and west, southwest and northwest. It is also an important gateway to the South and Central Asian countries, Liu said.

As for international relations, Qinghai has 182 trading partners and friendship ties with 20 international cities from 17 countries, Wang said.

 Oasis of natural beauty opening up to tourists

Three-river-Source National Park in Qinghai province, as the source of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers, serves as a key ecological shelter in the region. Provided to China Daily

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