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With better transportation, services, Inner Mongolia scenic spot now a hit

By ZHUANG QIANGE and PANG BO | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-23 09:30
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Tourists experience a snow ride in A'ershan Mountain, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. SUN YAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

A'ershan Mountain, located in the county-level city of A'ershan, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is known for its luxuriant forests, delectable mountain produce, natural mineral springs and sprawling grasslands.

Currently, domestic visitors can be seen en masse in A'ershan under the Hinggan League by first arriving at Ulaanhot — another county-level city under Hinggan — by air, in addition to Mongolian and Russia tourists coming to tour A'ershan, all part of the Greater Hinggan Mountains.

Since 2014, the city has been encouraging its residents to turn the local lucid waters and lush mountains into invaluable assets.

But realizing even faster and easier transportation is a paramount task for the city, which is working to upgrade A'ershan Airport, and launch bullet trains to run between A'ershan and Ulaanhot, A'ershan and Hailaar district under neighboring prefecture-level city Hulunbuir, said Zhu Minghong from the local publicity department.

Zhu said the city, which has also renovated the local section of the G331 National Highway, as well as built three local highways to address tourist surges, aims to have 5 million tourist arrivals this year, producing revenue of over 7 billion yuan ($979 million).

She said that so far, a five-pronged approach has taken shape in A'ershan — setting up a leading body, designing more scenic spots with upgraded facilities, perfecting transport infrastructure, launching promotional events and recognizing those contributing to its tourism.

The city established a leading body — composed of government officials and tourism entrepreneurs — during the 2023 A'ershan Tourism Conference, implementing the two concepts of "making the whole city into a scenic spot" and "integrating beautiful views into the whole city".

It also designed 12 new consumption modes including ecotours, sojourns through ice and snow, and waterborne tours, and developed 11 new domestic and international air routes, in addition to opening 10 new tour landmarks and 10 existing immersive travel products such as forest and pasture trips.

"Currently, the city's brand influence and popularity of its tourism are increasing day by day," said Wang Meishuang, Zhu's colleague.

In addition to perfecting its transport infrastructure, Wang said A'ershan is also launching various promotional events.

The city asked A'ershan Cultural Tourism Development Co Ltd and Greater Hinggan-A'ershan Tourism Development Co Ltd to spearhead a recent event, witnessing strategic agreements with travel agencies from Russia and Mongolia, as well as 126 travel agencies from 28 other Chinese provincial-level regions, she said.

"Russian and Mongolian visitors are our priority for business expansion this year. We will create more high-quality tourism products and routes for them, as well as provide better services," said Yang Mei, manager of Inner Mongolia Senlu International Travel Service, at the event.

Izmerlaf Anton, general manager of Satellite Tourism Co at Ulan-Ude, capital city of the Republic of Buryatia in Russia, said: "The unique charm of A'ershan not only attracts Chinese tourists, but much attention from foreign visitors. We will actively promote it and attract more international tourists, so as to let the world perceive the beauty of A'ershan and help it become better known around the world."

Wang Jianbo, deputy general manager of Greater Hinggan Tourism Development Co Ltd, said the city commended 52 outstanding individuals, 13 government departments and 17 enterprises that made outstanding contributions to its tourism development.

Forestry worker Yu Jiujiang, now 60, has answered the city's call enthusiastically, inviting several of his colleagues from the forest farm to start a tourism cooperative.

Starting with four horses, they took tourists on sled rides to experience the fun of ice and snow, and later opened a rural restaurant. Working as a tour guide and now owning 28 horses himself, his family's business in Linsu village, Bailang (While Wolf) town, is now a favorite choice for tourists.

Currently, Yu's cooperative can easily earn a profit of some 190,000 yuan annually, and is contemplating an expansion of business.

Yu said his 40 years as a forestry worker have shown that A'ershan Mountain has become more beautiful, adding that "its ecology is getting better every year".

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