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Learning a lesson in friendship from Confucius

2014/12/12 11:47:46   source:China Daily

  It is 2,500 years since Confucius said how delightful it was to have friends come from afar. Now, following in the tradition of the great sage, his home province is promoting its "Friendly Shandong" brand as it develops into a major tourist destination.

  "Shandong is one of the most important origins of Chinese civilization and boasts some of the most picturesque landscapes in China, which have particular appeal for tourists from both at home and abroad," Ji Xiangqi, vice-governor of Shandong, told China Daily recently. Ji said tourism has become the province's pillar industry.

  Last year, Shandong received more than 200 million inbound visits, bringing in 518.4 billion yuan ($84.34 billion) in revenue.

  It contributed almost one-tenth (9.47 percent) of the province's GDP. During the first three quarters, its tourism industry reaped revenue of 428.8 billion yuan, up by 13.3 percent over the same period last year.

  The local government is striving to build the province into an international tourist attraction, with its tourism revenue expected to exceed 1 trillion yuan by 2017, double that of 2012.

  To achieve the aim, a package of preferential policies have been offered to further tap the potential of the tourism and cultural industry, ranging from financial support, introducing talents to building tourism facilities.

  "Shandong boasts a long history and splendid culture and is known as the hometown of Confucius, and ancient Chinese philosophers including the most famous of all, Mencius, and Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War, who have left behind numerous precious cultural relics," Ji said, adding that the province's rich historical and cultural resources are "the biggest selling point" for its tourism industry.

  "Travel with historical and cultural elements will bring tourists more inspiration and pleasure. We should dig into the charm of our history and culture, and perfectly integrate them with tourism," he said.

  The province is promoting ten cultural tourist attractions, including the regions around Qufu, Mount Taishan, the Yellow River, the "capital of springs" Jinan, and Dongping, the origin of Water Margin, one of the four great classical novels in China. Other attractions being promoted include Linzi, the capital of Qi, one of the most powerful states during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and the following Warring States Period (475-221 BC).

  The regions along the Grand Canal and the Yimeng area, which is famous for the "Yimeng spirit" said to have given people inspiration during the Chinese revolution, will also be developed.

  To highlight cultural elements of these tourist attractions, various creative cultural products and tourism projects have been launched. In Qufu, where Confucius was born, for instance, a special ceremony to worship the sage is staged at the Temple of Confucius every day.

  Also, the province's traditional villages and towns with strong regional cultural features and local folk customs have become another attraction for those who tend to get in touch with nature.

  The rural tourist spots attracted 110 million visits in the first half of this year. To further boost its rural tourism, more than 30 million yuan has been allocated to repair houses and historic sites, and build basic tourist facilities in the traditional villages and towns.

  They are expected to receive 240 million visits by the year's end and will realize revenue of 130 billion yuan.

  The local government has held an investment promotion event every year since 2008, which has supported a total of 528 tourism projects built in the province with a gross investment of 234.6 billion yuan.

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Sponsor:Information Office of Shandong Provincial People’s Government