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Guilin's landscapes lure travelers looking for luxury

By Erik Nilsson | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-19 07:35

Guilin's landscapes lure travelers looking for luxury<BR>

The city of Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region draws millions of tourists from home and abroad every year as one of the world's most beautiful places, with rivers, karst landscapes and idyllic sceneries. Tourism development over the past few decades has produced a diversification of accommodation options. [Photo by Zhan Weike/China Daily]

Guilin's tremendous topography has in recent years lured luxury accommodation that complements its legacy as a backpacker destination. Erik Nilsson explores its hospitality's development.

Guilin has long been a bastion of backpackers-and still is.

But the city in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region's progressively elevated position on the global tourism map is driving an accommodation diversification that embraces upscale travelers.

The city's scenic Yangshuo county arguably hosts the most boutiques opened by foreigners.

And global luxury brands are proliferating.

That's perhaps partly because the area was among the first to open to international travelers. And its contorted karts chisel stupendous scenery that literally sculpts its international allure in stone.

Over 10 million visitors arrived in Yangshuo last year. Tourism accounts for 65 percent of its GDP, the United Nations World Tourism Organization reports.

Its accommodation explosion is said to have started when an American man and his Indian wife opened the first homestay along the Lijiang River's banks in the 1990s.

They leased and converted farmhouses into the Shendi Yangshuo Mountain Retreat.

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