Sichuan and Chongqing both are endowed with abundant tourism resources and are essential tourist sources to each other. The building of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle provides a new opportunity for the cultural tourism exchange and cooperation between the two places. How can they upgrade the Chengdu-Chongqing cultural tourism brand? How can they better facilitate tourism linkage to benefit citizens and tourists? During the Two Sessions, Liu Qi, Chongqing-based CPPCC member and director of Chongqing Municipal Commission of Culture and Tourism Development, shared his views.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 at the beginning of this year has affected the tourism industry to varying degrees. Chongqing’s tourism industry has come up with various solutions to cope with the impact of brought by COVID-19, such as online travel and online exhibition. Still, thee boost to actual consumption is not obvious. “Tourism, unlike other industries, requires people to experience it on the spot to generate consumption and revitalize the industry,” noted Liu Qi.
With the gradual improvement of epidemic prevention and control, tourist attractions around the country have resumed their operations. Chongqing requires that the daily reception of each scenic spot should not exceed 30% of the maximum approved value. From the actual monitoring data, in many cases, the amount of reception is less than 30%. “Now, most of the tourists in Chongqing are Chongqing locals. Apart from holidays, tourists from outside the province are still relatively few,” said Liu Qi, adding that different from other provinces and cities, Sichuan and Chongqing are linked by mountains and rivers and traffic. Leisure tourism in the two places has long been keen on mutual visiting, which provides an opportunity for the two places to solve the current problems.
In a bid to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and explore a long-term mechanism to benefit more citizens and tourists, Chongqing and Sichuan launched an event of Free Travel in Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor on May 16 and jointly rolled out the event of Millions of Citizens in Sichuan and Chongqing Visit Scenic Spots Free of Charge. The tourist attractions of the two places respectively offer preferential policies of free tickets to tourists of Chongqing and Sichuan.
Especially in April this year, the official media of Chongqing and Sichuan, cqnews.net and Sichuan Daily Observation, warmed up the event by online ticket grabbing. The scenic spot group couples of Chengdu and Chongqing distributed thousands of tickets free of charge for Sichuan and Chongqing scenic spots. The event was warmly received, showing that citizens of the two places do like visiting each other.
Since it was first proposed to promote the building of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle in January this year, the tourism cooperation between Chongqing and Sichuan has stepped into the fast track of speed-up and upgrading. On April 22, Hongya Cave and Kuanzhai Alley signed a strategic cooperation agreement. Since then, Chongqing’s Hongya Cave and Chengdu’s Kuanzhai Alley have started in-depth cooperation in brand promotion, marketing, mutual recommendation on products, and tourist flow guidance.
Through resource integration, complementary advantages, and other forms, the win-win cooperation will jointly open up a new path for the cultural tourism industries of the two places, deemed Liu Qi.
According to the government’s plan for the Two Rivers and Four Riversides, the Changjiahui big scenic spot will be built this year based on the standard of 5A scenic spot. In the future, the city scenery here featuring “river in the front, the city in the background” will be further upgraded, said Liu Qi. “Relying on the Changjiahui big scenic spot, we will also hold night scene cultural festival, cultural and creative product design competition, etc.,” noted Liu Qi. “Among them, many activities will be jointly organized by Chongqing and Sichuan, some hosted by Chongqing, with Sichuan participating, others hosted by Sichuan and with Chongqing participating, thus promoting the co-construction and sharing of preferential policies and cultural tourism products between the two places.”
In an effort to promote the revival of the cultural tourism industry and attract more people to scenic spots in districts and counties, Chongqing will also launch a large cultural tourism promotion event in June this year, which will last until November. Focusing on Chongqing’s most beautiful natural scenery, best cultural and creative products, best sales service, best travel experience, Chongqing will develop the whole industrial chain of creativity, production, publicity and sales of cultural tourism products to create a unique version 2.0 of the cultural tourism integration promotion model.
According to Liu Qi, to build Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle at a faster pace, establish and complete Sichuan-Chongqing coordination mechanism, and develop Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor together, Sichuan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and Chongqing Municipal Commission of Culture and Tourism Development signed the Strategic Cooperation Agreement on Promoting the Building of Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle. As per the agreement, the two sides will set up a working mechanism and a task force on culture and tourism under the framework of building Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle together, in an effort to maintain close cooperation on seeking support from the state and planning major platforms, reforms, policies, and projects. At the same time, the two sides will expand exchange and cooperation on culture and tourism with a specific focus on in-depth cooperation in resource development, route planning, and product design.
Moreover, the two sides will promote the branding of Bashu cultural tourism together through route planning, product opening, and resource protection, and focus on developing high-quality routes of Bashu cultural tourism. At the same time, they will also carry out archaeological investigations and excavations of Ba and Shu cultural ruins, establish a coordination mechanism for intangible cultural heritage protection, and study, sort out, protect and carry forward together intangible cultural heritage rooted in and shared by both cultures, like Sichuan opera, Sichuan cuisine, Shu brocade and embroidery, and stone carving. In terms of industry, relying on the status of Chongqing and Chengdu as cultural tourism centers and local famous scenic attractions, the two sides will make a concentrated effort on developing new cultural tourism business formats such as cultural tourism plus giant panda and cultural tourism plus film and television and cultivating industry clusters with distinctive characteristics and strong competitiveness such as “Bushu culture.”
Furthermore, the two sides will also cooperate on developing and promoting festival events, establishing Bashu cultural tourism promotion alliance, carrying out regional cultural brand cultivation projects, curating and hosting exhibitions, building public service platforms for cultural tourism and realizing Sichuan-Chongqing cultural tourism integration through each other’s smart tourism display systems.
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