Tourist allure of winter's wonder

09:01, June 07, 2010      

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Heilongjiang province welcomed 31.4 million visitors in the first quarter of the year that generated 17.2 billion yuan in tourism revenues, a rise of more than 25 percent over the 2009, illustrating the increasing attractiveness of China's most popular winter destination.

Tourism is now one of the pillar industries in Heilongjiang, which not only brings visitors, but is also increasingly attracting investors seeking business opportunities in the industry.

Heilongjiang offers novel experiences in all seasons - snowy winter suitable for skiing and skating, springtime when the woods and grasses turn green and flowers blossom, a cool summer providing an escape from the heat and autumn with its rich colors of yellow and red leaves.

Heilongjiang has the largest forests, wetlands and farmlands in the country, the longest river and the biggest lake on a border between China and a foreign country.

Once called the "vast land of wildness", the province at the northeastern tip of China is also the cradle of several cultures, even two thousand years ago, that left behind relics of brilliant civilizations awaiting tourist expeditions.

New strategy

The province's new strategy highlights "integrating tourism with border trade" while placing equal emphasis on tourism development and environmental protection, according to Bo Xiru, director of Heilongjiang's tourism bureau.

Heilongjiang shares a 3,000 km border with Russia. In addition to cross-border business, the province's 25 border cities are also the entry-exit points for inbound and outbound tourists.

As more Russian visitors come to do business in Heilongjiang, an increasing number of Chinese tourists want to visit Russia.

Suifenhe, Heihe, Dongning and Fuyuan are the top cities for both border trade and tourism.

According to Bo, the province released a new tourism development plan early this year to clearly define the industry that balances tourism development with ecological protection.

The guideline requires preservation of the ecosystem and its biodiversity along with protecting the unique geology.

Promotions

With tourism already popular among domestic visitors, authorities in Heilongjiang are planning to increase the province's recognition in the international community with efforts that include promotional visits to Berlin and Moscow.

Another aspect is the province's tourism exhibition now open at the Shanghai Expo.

"After survey and appraisals, we have prepared a list of 'top 100 attractions' in Heilongjiang to recommend to potential tourists," Bo said.

Source: China Daily

(Editor:黄硕)

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