QINGYUAN, Guangdong: Tourism city Qingyuan in the north of Guangdong province is taking advantage of its position as a hot spring and drifting site in a down economy.
“A hot spring and drifting tourism city is better suited to manage the challenging economic times, since the cost of touring the site is relatively low and more people are switching to these areas as their first choice when traveling,” said Lei Yuchun, director of Tourist Breau of Qingyuan city.
Hot spring and drifting are the two most prominent tourism attractions of Qingyuan due to the rich resources in the city. The two attractions match each other perfectly, as hot spring is popular in winter while drifting is well-received in summer.
In 2008, both revenue of tourism industry and the number of tourists of the city increased by over 10 percent from the previous year.
“We received 14.88 million person-time tourists and 5.6 billion yuan ($823 million) revenue last year,” Lei said. “The two figures increased by 16.9 percent and 13.9 percent respectively from 2007.”
The revenue of tourism accounted for nearly eight percent of the city’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Due to the global economic turmoil and deadly epidemic disease H1N1, Lei said Qingyuan’s tourism industry showed a downturn trend in the first half of this year.
“We received only 6.4 million person-time tourists, which increased by only 3.73 percent from last year,” he said. “The range of increase is much lower than last year’s.”
However, the revenue of tourism in the first six months this year was 2.87 billion yuan, increased by 10 percent from 2008.
“The two figure show that each tourist spend more money than the previous year even though the total number of tourists has decreased,” Lei said.
“I think the reason is many tourists who intend to go to travel far-away places choose short-distance city, like Qingyuan, nowadays,” he said.
Many tourists from the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong and Macao can travel Qingyuan in one day, therefore, Qingyuan become a very convenient tourism option for them. Moreover, the cost of touring hot spring and drifting sites is relatively low, many young people would like to come to Qingyuan, Lei said.
However, Lei said almost half of the tourists spend only one day in Qingyuan, making many tourism facilities, like Hotels, hard to attract guests. In order to attract more tourists to stay overnight in the city, the bureau is planning on holding more promotion events.
In the following months of this year, Qingyuan will hold a tourism festival featuring hot spring, a photography competition, and a four-wheel-drive competition.
"We’d like to not only attract tourists from China but also from overseas, especially from South-East Asia and Europe," Lei said.