Wanted: A new Marco Polo

By Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2013-3-14 1:03:01

Hangzhou, a famous tourism city in Zhejiang Province, launched a global campaign on Monday, offering an annual payment of 40,000 euros ($52,000) to recruit a foreign representative for its tourism in hopes of attracting overseas tourists.

The winning candidate will enjoy 15 days of free travelling in Hangzhou and experience typical Chinese arts including tea drinking, silk making and martial arts, Hua Yunong, director of the publicity department of the Hangzhou Tourism Commission, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The winner will play the leading role in the city's promotional film, and also serve as a travelling consultant for the city. The winner is required to share his experiences in Hangzhou on four top foreign social networking websites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

"Hangzhou is well known in East Asia but less famous in other areas such as America and Australia," Hua said. "We'd like to use the Internet to expand our further market."

Hangzhou was described by the famous Italian traveler Marco Polo (1254-1324) as "the most beautiful and elegant city in the world."

"We aim to find the contemporary Marco Polo," Hua said. The search runs until April 2014.

Brendan Donnelly from Ireland, a second-year graduate student with Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou, who attended the launching ceremony of the campaign, said the project is very interesting.

"Foreigners seldom use Chinese social networking websites. The campaign will let more foreigners know Hangzhou," Brendan told the Global Times.

As an international tourism city, Hangzhou should be encouraged to use innovative methods to explore its market, Zhang Shangzheng, a tourism management professor at Anhui University, told the Global Times.

However, many Web users from Hangzhou complained about the project. "The money should be used to help more Chinese to know and inherit their culture," Sina Weibo user Catsyy said.


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