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Sichuan Strides towards World-class Important Tourist Destination

  With determined efforts, the Chinese people have added a glorious chapter to the development epic of the country and the nation. Since the founding of the People's republic of China, especially since the inception of reform and opening-up, China's tourism has been developing rapidly with an ever larger scale and has become a pillar industry of the national economy.

  With profound history, beautiful scenery,  and diverse culture, Sichuan enjoys remarkable advantages due to its rich cultural tourism resources. The magnificent and beautiful natural scenery and gorgeous human landscape here complement each other, beaming with endless charm.

  From promoting resources integration in early days, to attracting international tourists to Sichuan, and to promoting tourism with culture and developing tourism with new forms of business as--all efforts Sichuan has made are to facilitate the transformation of its abundant tourism resources into economic resources by developing tourism, thus helping it usher in a golden period for the development of the province's cultural tourism industry.

  From Nothing to Something, from Few to Many

  Sichuan's Tourism Supply Capacity Keeps Increasing

  Recently, according to an announcement of the scenic spot, Jiuzhaigou National Park will reopen to the tourists from September 27, 2019 (World Tourism Day). After two years of reconstruction, the reopening of the park after it was hit by a powerful earthquake is undoubtedly good news for tourists from Sichuan Province and beyond.

  With magnificent and unique natural scenery. Jiuzhaigou was designated as a nature scenery reserve by China’s State Council in 1978, officially opened to the public in 1984; listed as a world natural heritage in 1992; approved as a national AAAAA level tourist attraction in 2007. The numbers of tourists received throughout the year in 2016 was over 5 million and tourism revenue was RMB 805 million. To some extent, its development is an epitome of Sichuan's tourism.

  Besides Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong National Park, Giant Panda Habitat, Qingcheng Mountain-Dujiangyan, Emei Mountain-Leshan Giant Buddha and other cultural and natural heritages are also world-famous. Sichuan's cultural tourism resources are among the best in quantity and quality in China---abundant and diversified, becoming an important foundation for the high-quality development of Sichuan's cultural tourism.

  At the beginning of the founding of the People's Republic of China, tourism did not have the characteristics of modern industry. Since 1978, the national tourism has gradually transformed into an economic industry. Taking advantage of this transformation, Sichuan’s tourism industry made historic achievements---from 1978 to 1982, Sichuan mainly focused on receiving inbound overnight tourists with 50,500 inbound tourists and a foreign exchange income of USD 13.72 million.

  In the early 1980s, Sichuan's tourism gradually surpassed the single development of inbound tourism, and made a series of scientific and systematic arrangements in the aspects of market-oriented reform of tourism, tourism industry management and promotion of domestic tourism. In 1989, Sichuan received 21.14 million domestic tourists with a domestic tourism income of RMB 1.1 billionand 101,300 inbound tourists with a foreign exchange income of USD 102.45 million.

  While actively exploring the marketization of tourism, Sichuan has been focusing on upgrading the quality of tourism. Over the years, the infrastructure, supporting services and management level have been continuously improved, boosting the high-quality development of Sichuan’s tourism.

  Taking Emei Mountain as an example, as early as 1998, relevant agencies set up a special marketing department to give full play to the unique advantages of the scenic spot. Meanwhile, the first ice and snow festival for the scenic spot was held, which marked the beginning of Sichuan’s winter tourism and attracted 200,000 tourists. In recent years, many tourist attractions in Sichuan have embarked on creating unique tourist experience with science and technology. For example, the new Sanxingdui Museum applied some high-quality science and technology tourism projects such as holographic theater and live-action theater using the opportunity of construction and renovation, breaking through traditional visiting experience and enhancing tourists' immersive experience.

  Through hard work, in 2007, the gap in national AAAAA level tourist attraction of Sichuan Province was filled, with Qingcheng Mountain-Dujiangyan scenic area, Emei Mountain scenic area and Jiuzhai Valley scenic area included in the list. At present, Sichuan owns 12 national AAAAA level tourist attractions, ranking fifth in China, and263 national AAAA level tourist attractions, ranking the top in China.

  Based on the advantages of cultural tourism resources, Sichuan has made great achievements in developing tourist resources. At present, Sichuan owns five world natural and cultural heritages, 15 national scenic spots, 79 provincial scenic spots, 12 national AAAAA level tourist attractions, 21 excellent tourist cities in China, 167 nature reserves, more than 220 geological relics, three world-class geological parks and 18 national geological parks.

  From Small to Large, from Large to Strong

  Tourism Clout Continues to Increase

  How to expand the influence of Sichuan’s tourism and attract more tourists to Sichuan becomes a new development focus of Sichuan’s tourism in the new era.

  The 5th China(Sichuan) International Tourism Investment Conference and the 6th Sichuan International Travel Expo held in Leshan City in September this year focused on gathering advantageous cultural and tourism resources at home and abroad, seeking common development and creating a new platform for global cultural tourism exchanges and cooperation. The event brought more than 700 exhibitors from 58 countries and regions such as the United States, France, Australia, Morocco, Egypt and so on, and 400 influential travel agencies from more than 30 major tourist source markets such as Europe, the United States, Japan and South Korea, as well as more than 1,000 well-known domestic tourist commodity buyers participated.

  The success of the event has demonstrated the growing tourism strength of Sichuan Province, opened up channels for Sichuan's tourism, and improve the international influence of Sichuan's tourism. In fact, Sichuan’s tourism continues to expand its international perspective, and the marketing concepts of "bringing in" and "going out" run through the whole process of its tourism development.

  Sichuan has held a series of high-level tourism development conferences since 2003. Sichuan International Travel Expo, Sichuan International Cultural Tourism Festival and Global Travel E-commerce Conference were held in Sichuan The 64th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Asia Tourism Association, the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization and 2016 World Route Development Conference also chose to be located in Sichuan. In addition to "promoting tourism through conferences", Sichuan also invites insiders from overseas tourism industry to Sichuan to participate in major international festivals and conferences and experience activities through various overseas official and non-governmental cultural and tourist channels, and provides well-designed differentiated itinerary products for product managers from different tourist source markets to get in-depth experience.

  Focusing on "bringing in" and "going out", in recent years, Sichuan's overseas marketing has spread all over the world. By the combined marketing taking the promotion image of "Sichuan, more than pandas" as the central point, taking the 10 tourism destinations such as "Great Jiuzhaigou", "Giant Panda" and "Great Sites" as the core brands, and taking the 10 top routes such as heritage tour, panda tour, gourmet tour and lantern tour as products, Sichuan is showing itself to Asia, Europe, America and the whole world across the board.

  In addition, regarding "going out", Sichuan also promotes its tourism  with external assistance. It has launched a marketing plan by setting up cultural tourism stations in foreign countries: With the help of overseas Chinese cultural centers, Confucius Institutes and Sichuan Airlines Co., Ltd., 20 Sichuan cultural tourism stations have been established overseas to continuously promote its tourism. A "two-point, one-line, whole-process marketing" initiative has also been adopted to carry out overseas marketing through 10 overseas Sichuan tourism marketing centers set up by Sichuan Airlines at the offices based in Prague, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and other direct airlines cities.

  Data can prove the development of Sichuan' tourism. Since 2014, the number of inbound tourists to Sichuan has increased by more than 300,000 per year. In 2017, Sichuan received 3.362 million inbound tourists, with a year-on-year growth of 9.9%. In 2018, Sichuan received 3,698,200 inbound overnight tourists, with a year-on-year growth of 10%, ranking the 13th in China.

  In order to make the inbound tourism more convenient, Sichuan has made great efforts to solve the problems of "weakness in inbound tourist visa facilitation" and "weakness in international tourism public service facilities". It introduced the 144-hour visa-free policy on arrival for eight cities in Chengdu Economic Circle, opened the Chengdu-Europe international tourism express, and actively constructed public facilities service for international tourists such as multilingual tour guides and intelligent tour guides. At the same time, Sichuan also provides inbound tourism incentives for travel agencies that are willing to develop tourism products independently. In 2019, the incentive funds for inbound tourism are expected to reach RMB 8 million.

  Promoting Tourism by Culture, Manifesting Culture by Tourism

  Accelerating the Integration of Culture and Tourism

  Bayi Ancient Town of Bazhong City, which demonstrates the traditional culture of loyalty, filial piety, diligence and incorruption, Shimian County of Ya 'an City, which boasts profound industry and mining history, Daying County of Suining City, which has a life-size replica of Titanic, and Ya 'an City, which is home to two world-renowned tourism resources: giant panda culture and tea culture...On the basis of preserving the original tourism resources, Sichuan has also introduced new methods to integrate culture and tourism across the province in recent years.

  The natural scenery in Sichuan are shaped into different forms, and the local culture is deeply rooted in the long history. On this land, there are the excellent traditional culture of Tibetan and Chiang ethnic group, the spirit of the Long March, the Third-Front Movement spirit, spirits culture, bamboo culture, lantern culture, salt culture, Sanxingdui culture, three kingdoms culture and Su Shi, Su Zhe and Su Xun culture, which are all the unique cultural details of Sichuan.

  With the development of all-for-one tourism and mass tourism, the integration of tourism and culture has become the new trend of tourism development in Sichuan. In November 2018, the Sichuan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism was established, marking the official start of the integration of culture and tourism in Sichuan Province.

  To promote the integrated development of culture and tourism, the protection and inheritance of intangible cultural heritages is of great significance. Sichuan now has seven  items on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List and 139 items on National Intangible Cultural Heritage List and 107 national intangible cultural heritage inheritors. Mianzhu New Year Paintings, Daoming bamboo art in Chongzhou, Zigong festive lantern... Sichuan is also striving to enhance cultural experience while creating natural scenery tours in recent years. This year, Sichuan has introduced 10 intangible cultural heritage tourist routes and 171 intangible cultural heritage experience bases. On October 17, intangible cultural heritages from different countries and regions in the world will gather in Chengdu for the 7th China (Chengdu) International Festival of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

  In addition, music plays as a catalyst in the integration of culture and tourism. In recent years, Sichuan has built its own "Sichuan Music Season" brand and attracted a large number of tourists to Sichuan through activities such as "Summer Jacques Music Season in Hongyuan Prairie" and "Foguang Huahai Music Festival" in Emei Mountain. In 2017, Emei Mountain received 1.242 million tourists during the music festival and saw a tourist revenue of RMB 1.111 billion, and the tourism revenue of the "Summer Jacques Music Season in Hongyuan Prairie" reached RMB 160 Million.

  Against the backdrop of the integration of culture and tourism, Sichuan’s tourism industry has entered the "trillion-level" industrial cluster with a total tourist revenue of RMB 101.275 billion in 2018 and a year-on-year growth of 13.3%. The number of domestic tourists it received was 702 million with a year-on-year growth of 4.9%, and the number of outbound tourists organized by travel agencies reached 1,704,800 with a year-on-year growth of 2.1%.

  In April this year, Sichuan issued a new slogan for cultural tourism-"Tianfu Has Sanxingdui, Jiuzhaigou and Giant Panda, Fulfilling Your Dream of Traveling Sichuan with Great Comfort", showing three representative scenic spots: Sanxingdui symbolizing the ancient and mysterious Ba-Shu civilization; Jiuzhaigou,-the scenic spot with magnificent natural scenery;  giant pandas--China’s national treasure.

  Behind the simple slogan reflects Sichuan's rich tourist resources and profound history and culture. Sanxingdui symbolizes the ancient Shu civilization, Jiuzhaigou is a rare natural treasure, and giant panda is a kind of living fossil of biodiversity. They complement each other and mark the diversity and uniqueness of Sichuan's tourist resources.

  Corresponding to the new slogan of cultural tourism, there is also a scientific layout for the development of the cultural tourism. Sichuan makes scientific distribution of cultural tourist resources in the province to form the cultural tourism layout of "one core and five belts". Based on the construction of Chengdu Cultural Tourism Economic Development Core Area, Sichuan will promote the construction of Cultural Tourism Economic Belt around Chengdu which panda culture, ancient Sichuan civilization and Tianfu culture adding radiance and beauty to each other; promote the construction of Southern Sichuan Cultural Tourism Economic Belt which combines Yangtze River culture and folk culture closely; promote the construction of Northeast Sichuan Cultural Tourism Economic Belt where Ba culture, Three Kingdoms culture and ancient culture centering around the route into the region of Shu mutually promote each other; promote the construction of Panxi Cultural Tourism Economic Belt in which Yi culture, the Third-Front Movement culture and Health and Retirement culture are linked with each; promote the construction of Northwest Sichuan Cultural Tourism Economic Belt where Plateau Ecological culture, Tibetan and Chiang culture, and the Long March culture develop jointly.

  In the future, Sichuan will continue to focus on the integration of culture and tourism, promote the integrated development of cultural tourism, the primary, secondary and tertiary industries as well as rural revitalization, poverty alleviation and county economy, foster a number of new forms of businesses and new industries, and strive to create a new situation of the prosperity of Sichuan’s cultural tourism.

 
 
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