China sets 30 pilot zones to integrate culture, tourism
Published: Dec 25, 2022 09:56 PM Updated: Dec 25, 2022 09:52 PM
A valley in Wulong county in Chongqing Municipality Photo: IC

A valley in Wulong county in Chongqing Municipality Photo: IC

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, in conjunction with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, issued a notice regarding the construction of pilot areas for the integrated development of the country's national cultural and tourism industries on Friday.

The newly introduced policy's aims to deepen the culture and tourism industries' integration.

It also marks the beginning of the application process of around 30 pilot zones that will be selected across the country.

According to the notice, such demonstration areas, China's exemplars of cultural tourism developments, are expected to meet criteria such as "rich cultural endowments" and "rich tourism resources."

The establishment of these zones should lead a "synergy of industrial chains" that will have a positive effect on surrounding areas.

"A qualified pilot zone should not be evaluated merely based on popularity, but also its potential to revive the culture and economy of a region, city and even a province. It should be like a 'cultural landmark,'" Xiao Shuming, a cultural researcher, told the Global Times.

The policy will provide support to the pilot zones for improving infrastructure, preservation and restoration of historic buildings, and the establishment of demonstration areas that "make rational use of old factory buildings" for sustainable urban regeneration.

Xu Yu, a creative industry researcher, told the Global Times on Sunday that turning abandoned factories into trendy cultural sites has become a good creative strategy to boost local tourism through the cyberspace "attention economy," particularly for Southwest Chinese cities including Chongqing and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

"Chongqing has multiple old factories in the heart of the city that have been regenerated into leisure and touristic spots that appeal to young people who like to take photos to feed their social media persona. It has worked so well that the city of industrial culture has become a new internet sensation," Xu noted.

Besides focusing on culture and tourism, the notice also emphasized support for the development of specialty industries such as red cultural tourism, traditional Chinese medicine and food culture as well as Chinese tea culture, which has recently been added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

After selection, the pilot zones will be given one to three years to complete development and integration of their culture and tourism industries.