Merging of culture and tourism in Tai'an
Crowds gather to admire the beautiful scenery at Taishan Mountain, in the city of Tai'an, Shandong province. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
From a tourist city to a tourist destination, Tai'an, Shandong province has been striving to tap its historical and cultural resources to create a unique cultural tourism industry, reported the chinanews.com.
During the three-day May Day holiday, Tai'an received 670,700 visitors, bringing in 71.64 million yuan ($11.07 million).
After development of The Grand Worship of Heaven and Earth of Mount Tai, Fantawild and the Taishan Colorful Time Scenic Spot, other culture-oriented travel projects, such as the Sun Tribes Scenic Spot, Baotailong Tourism of Taishan and the Old town of the Water Margin, have settled in Tai'an in succession over the past five years.
This year's May Day holiday saw the Old town of the Water Margin reap 14.4 million yuan in ticket proceeds, the Sun Tribes Scenic Spot gain 12.48 million yuan in revenue, Baotailong Tourism of Taishan 9.23 million yuan and Fantawild 6.67 million yuan.
Tai'an combines its natural landscape and cultural aspects to offer a Taoist culture, stone culture and Dawenkou culture – tangible, visible, audible and eatable.
Fengshan ceremonies, or Emperors' sacrificial ceremonies, spread awareness of the culture associated with Taishan Mountain through more than 200 live performances each year.
Over 3,000 years, Chinese emperors have made pilgrimages to Taishan Mountain to pray to the gods. Twelve emperors, beginning with Qin Shihuang, the first emperor to unify China in 221 BC, have paid homage in a ritual called "Fengshan Sacrifices" at Taishan Mountain.
Rural tourism is a new growth point for the city. It brought in 1.36 million yuan in revenue during this May Day holiday, up 10.5 percent over the same period in 2015.
Daiyue district's Liyu village, with some 200 households, drew around 40,000 tourists annually, generating over two million yuan.
The number of visitors to Pingwa village, Xintai city, topped 5,000 in spring, relying upon its folk customs and historic villages.
The tourism sector of Tai'an maintained a rapid growth momentum during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).
In 2015, the city received 57.90 million persons, up 9 percent over 2014. Total tourist consumption hit 58.23 billion yuan, equivalent to 18.4 percent of its GDP.
A bird's eye view of Dai Temple, where ancient emperors held worship ceremonies, in the city of Tai'an, Shandong province. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]