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Fengkai revitalizing its tourist status
Latest Updated by 2006-10-20 09:38:26
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Fengkai County in South China's Guangdong Province is endeavouring to boost its tourism industry with a brand new development plan.

According to the plan, the county will develop a new comprehensive tourism industry, covering sightseeing, leisure, vacation and exploration options, science popularization and sport.

"We plan to promote tourism into a pillar industry," said Liang Zhiqiang, secretary of the county's committee of the Communist Party of China.

Liang said the county would highlight three of its characteristics: being the ancient capital of South China, a city with mountains and rivers, and the Fengkai National Geopark.

Liang revealed the county's ambitious goal of creating a global geopark and national scenic spot.

From this year forward, the county government will allocate 2 million yuan (US$250,000) every year into a special fund to promote the tourism industry.

The money will mainly be used in the design of scenic spots, public tourism services, tourism promotion, development of tourism products and the preservation of tourist resources.

Liang estimated that in 2007, the county would receive 750,000 tourists a year, with an annual income of 630 million yuan (US$78.75 million).

By that time, tourism income will account for 18 per cent of the county's service industrial output value and 7 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

"The county's tourism industry has long lagged behind, despite its rich tourism resources," Liang said. "Such conditions should be changed immediately."

Measures

To achieve its goal, the county will carry out two projects to make the most of its abundant tourist resources.

The first project will strengthen the county's most important tourist destination, the Fengkai National Geopark.

The county will improve the supporting facilities for the geopark, including a high-level highway leading to the park, a geology museum, four-star hotels, motels, car parks, a bazaar of local products, a post office, a gallery and an entertainment centre.

The geopark is the most famous geological park in the Pearl River Valley with abundant geological resources, such as Karst landforms, granite landforms, sandshale landforms, human fossils (from the Old Stone Age) and geological disaster relics.

The geopark is also a picturesque place with uncommon scenery, including huge rocks, strangely shaped peaks, deep caves, vast forests, green mountains and raging rivers.

The geopark, with an overall area of 1,326 square kilometres and a core area of 117 square kilometres, was established with approval from the Ministry of Land and Resources on August 31,2005.

The most remarkable site in the park is a huge rock called "Daban Rock," the largest single rock in the world. With multi-coloured stripes, the single rock forms a hill itself and looks like a colourful waterfall from afar.

A giant granite hemisphere formed by faulting and weathering, the rock is 1,365 metres long, 695 metres wide and 191.3 metres high, with a perimeter of 4,100 metres and occupying an area of 73.4 hectares.

The Karst landform in the park is representative of the sub-tropical Karst landforms and is very similar to that of Guilin in Guangxi.

The Hejiang River flowing through the park is a branch of the Pearl River, China's third largest river. Although an extremely tortuous river with countless twists and turns, the river in the park flows gently and its clear water reflects the green mountains by its banks.

The fossils and relics of ancient humans in the park date back to 150,000 years ago, and provide a unique and systematic record of human evolution in South China.

The other project is to highlight the county's profound historical and cultural heritage.

The county will encourage cultural groups to participate in tourism development and give performances of folk songs, dances and customs to visitors of the park.

The county is now repairing the ancient city walls to provide a new attraction to tourists interested in the historical features of the county.

Fengkai, once known as Guangxin, was the birthplace of the Lingnan culture (the culture of South China) as well as the Guangdong dialect.

It became a county in 111 BC when Emperor Wudi of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD24) established the Jiaozhi state in South China and chose Fengkai as the capital.

In ensuing three hundred years, Fengkai remained the local administrative centre of South China.

Since then, Fengkai County has been a cultural centre and is home to many intellectuals, such as Chen Qin and Chen Yuan, pioneers of the study of Confucian classics in the Western Han Dynasty, and Muzi, a scholar who promoted the sinicization of Buddhism from India.

Since ancient times, Fengkai has been called "the gateway linking Guangdong and Guangxi" and served as a hub for political, economic and cultural communications between South and Central China.

Fengkai County, under the administration of the city of Zhaoqing, is located in the west of Guangdong Province and on the upper reaches of the Pearl River, neighbouring Wuzhou in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Fengkai is also one of the earliest habitats for human beings.

Man was believed by archaeologists to be living in the area 148,000 years ago, the earliest human beings in South China.

Editor: Yan

By: Zeng Shufen Source: China Daily Website
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