Jilin Special: Pristine Jilin pledges to improve tourism industry

10:32, April 28, 2010      

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Jilin's tourism industry is thriving, according to Vice-Governor Chen Weigen, responsible for the province's tourism affairs.

Revenue in the sector reached 58 billion yuan by the end of 2009, double the 2006 figure. As tourism became one of the biggest focuses of this year's Two Sessions, many provinces are making efforts to develop this industry.

The Jilin government aims to make 72.5 billion yuan in revenue in 2010.

Natural advantage

Jilin is rich in tourist attractions, among them the most famous is the Changbai Mountains. The area is largely pollution-free, and the natural environment is well-preserved.

Other pleasant scenery includes the Tianchi Lake, which sits at an altitude of 2,700m, hot springs, forests and various precious plants. The picturesque Yalu River also runs through the region.

"From a cultural perspective, we have historic artifacts left by the Manchu koku, a regime established by the Japanese, apparently in the name of the abandoned Chinese emperor Pu Yi, but really governed as a colony to enable the Japanese to control northeast China. We also have ancient artifacts of some Chinese minority ethnic groups," said Chen.

Jilin is home to many Manchu people. It is also the border province between China and the North Korea. "The special culture here is interesting for visitors," added Chen.

Jilin gets a lot of snow and ice, which makes it a perfect place to go skiing in winter.

"There is no doubt that winter in Jilin is cold, but for outdoor skiing, the temperature here is still comfortable," Chen said. "We also have a famous tourism site by the banks of Songhua River, which visitors should take care not to miss."

Environment

"Developing a province is just like making a product, you should make clear plans before taking action," Chen said.

According to Chen, tourism is not just sightseeing. " Visitors come, take pictures and leave - that is not what we want," he said. "We need to make clear plans and goals. We should take sightseeing, together with sports, transportation, accommodation and other aspects into consideration."

Speaking of the relationship between economic development and environmental protection, Chen insisted that the government would pay close attention to the environment. "We will never boost the economy at the expense of our environment," he said.

"Both sides should be emphasized, but environmental protection always comes first," he said. "That's why we should make clear plans in advance."

Job opportunities

"We have fallen behind many other provinces in developing tourism," Chen said. "So we are trying our best to learn from others and make tourism here stronger."

According to Chen, the Jilin government wants to build more modern skiing facilities by bringing in domestic and international investment. "Last year, several private enterprises invested 2 billion yuan to build vacation villa areas in the Changbai Mountains, where they invited top engineers from developed countries to design one of the ski playgrounds," Chen said.

"During recent years we have made progress in developing our tourism resources, for example, transportation, accommodation and dining conditions along the Changbai Mountains have been improved."

Tourism not only brings revenue, but also increases people's individual incomes. According to Chen, more visitors will create more investment as well as job opportunities. "We hope to decrease the income gap this way, especially in rural areas."

"Besides, unlike some over-developed regions, Jilin's most important tourism resources are well preserved. Being pristine is our biggest advantage for the development of our tourism industry."

Source: China Daily

(Editor:黄硕)

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