Suzhou lures foreigners based in Shanghai

By XING YI | China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-10 07:59
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A Kunqu Opera performer sing to foreigners at the salon that promotes Suzhou tourism. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Jiangsu province's Suzhou city is working to attract more foreigners living in nearby Shanghai to visit for weekends and short trips.

The canal-laced "Venice of China" offers a break from the fast-paced and relatively Western life of Shanghai, a hypermodern metropolis whose colonial history started when it became one of the country's earliest treaty ports in the 1840s and has wiped out many traditional Chinese elements over time.

Suzhou, in contrast, is celebrated for a slow lifestyle and traditional gardens, architecture and culture.

Suzhou's tourism bureau and the international travel-review website TripAdvisor staged a salon involving about 50 Shanghai-based expatriates from various countries, who've visited Suzhou, in Shanghai on June 29.

"Shanghai is modern and newer. But Suzhou has a deeper sense of old China," photo-studio owner and magazine writer Stuart Lancaster says.

The Briton has visited Suzhou over 10 times in the past eight years.

He brought his Chinese wife and son to Suzhou last month. They took a fan-painting and calligraphy course on Pingjiang Road, a cultural-heritage neighborhood that dates to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

"It helped my son to learn more about Chinese culture, which is part of his identity," he says.

"It's a lot fun to connect with your family and connect with China during the trip."

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