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Chongqing and Sichuan Jointly Promote Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor

By SHIHAN YANGICHONGQING|Nov 12,2021

Sitting inside the Wu Gorge, Ba and Shu are a family. According to Chongqing Municipal Commission of Culture and Tourism Development on November 5, Sichuan and Chongqing will work together to grow the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor into a one-trillion-yuan-level market, a national-level cross-regional featured cultural and tourism industry belt with international influence, popularity, and competitiveness.

The beautiful scenery in Chongqing Hongyadong. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

The core zone of the Corridor covers 42 cities

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council recently issued the Planning Outline for the Construction of Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle, which clearly indicates that Sichuan and Chongqing should cooperate in developing the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor by tapping into cultural and tourism resources. They should promote tourism with cultural resources and highlight culture with tourism resources, presenting the charm of the two places to the world. As a result, a world-class destination with the international style, Chinese features, and Bashu culture for leisure tourism can rise.

According to the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Culture and Tourism Development, Sichuan and Chongqing will rely on tourism to turn the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor into a national-level cross-regional featured cultural and tourism industry belt with international influence, popularity, and competitiveness, with Bashu culture as the core.

Specifically, the Corridor will be divided into the core zone, expansion zone, and radiation zone. The core zone covers the same area as the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, namely 27 districts (counties) in Chongqing and 15 cities in Sichuan. A total of 96 million people live in this 85,000-square-kilometer region, which enjoys a regional GDP of 6.3 trillion yuan (about one trillion U.S. dollars).

The expansion zone refers to the remaining cities in Sichuan and districts (counties) in Chongqing that have not been included in the Planning Outline for the Construction of Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle. The radiation zone contains provinces and autonomous regions neighboring Sichuan and Chongqing, including Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai.

The first development goal is that by 2025, the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor co-construction and sharing system and mechanism will take shape, and the tourism industry of Sichuan and Chongqing is expected to contribute significantly to the high-quality economic and social development. For example, Bashu cultural heritage will be effectively protected and utilized; the meaningful connotation of the Bashu culture will be explored; spirits embedded in the Bashu culture will be promoted; the income generated by the culture and tourism industry will top 1.5 trillion yuan. The second goal is that by 2035, the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor will become a world-class destination for leisure tourism; the tourism industry will serve as a strategic pillar of Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle construction; the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor will be renowned for its “international style, Chinese features, and Bashu culture”; the income generated by the culture and tourism industry will exceed 5 trillion yuan.

Chengdu Kuanzhai Alley. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

52 strategic cooperation agreements signed

Since the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle construction became a national strategy, Sichuan and Chongqing initiated the co-construction and sharing of the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor.

“We have made some progress. First, the cooperation mechanism has been built; second, key projects are under development; third, online and offline events have been held,” said a Chongqing Municipal Commission of Culture and Tourism Development representative.

In terms of the cooperation mechanism, Sichuan and Chongqing have convened joint conferences on advancing the construction of the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor since April 2020, signed the Strategic Cooperation Agreement on Promoting Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle Construction and Strategic Cooperation Agreement on Promoting Cultural Relics Protection and Utilization in Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle and introduced Policies and Measures on Accelerating Sichuan-Chongqing Culture and Tourism Integrated Development and Collaboration. The last document involves 30 policies and measures in eight fields, including developing the top-level design, perfecting the cooperation mechanism, fostering cultural and tourism brands, and upgrading public services.

In terms of key projects, Sichuan and Chongqing signed 52 strategic cooperation agreements on culture and tourism at all levels, established 11 cultural and tourism cooperation alliances, and worked together on 65 key tasks concerning the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor construction, of which 35 have been finished, and 20 are under progress, to “help Chongqing and Chengdu co-develop the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor.”

In terms of online and offline events, the sixth China Poetry Festival, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, China Writers Association, People’s Government of Sichuan Province, and Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, celebrated its opening ceremony in Chengdu and closing ceremony in Chongqing a week later in November 2020. This was the first national cultural and tourism event co-organized by Sichuan and Chongqing after launching the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle construction.

Performance of Sichuan Opera. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Innovative mechanisms and measures applied

“For us, the construction of the Corridor will bring about both opportunities and challenges.” A representative from the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Culture and Tourism Development said apart from the opportunities that everyone knows, people should also value difficulties or challenges. For instance, cross-administrative regional coordination possesses the feature of complexity. Taking Fujiang River as an example, it flows into Tongnan, Chongqing after running through Pingwu, Jiangyou, Santai, and Suining in Sichuan and finally joins the Jialing River in Hechuan. The consistent coordination of administrative regions in the fields such as planning, construction, and supervision is needed for developing high-quality tourism routes along the Fujiang River. Therefore, it is necessary to explore further the economic development mechanism that breaks the administrative boundaries.

“Next, to address the challenges facing the construction of the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor, we will further innovate the cooperation mechanism and take multiple measures to play the chorus of the new era, striving to build the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor into a world-class booming land of culture and tourism,” said the head.

Specifically, Chongqing and Sichuan will insist on a planning-led approach to cooperate with the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to prepare and issue the Construction Plan of Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor while respectively formulating implementation plans align with the national planning.

The two will also carry out seven key projects for the protection and utilization of cultural relics. For instance, they are about to plan and build the National Long March Cultural Park, with the focus on the construction of the Sichuan Section and Chongqing Section. In addition, Sichuan and Chongqing will promote the development of cultural and tourism infrastructure projects, such as Chongqing Youth Activity Center, Yangtze River Concert Hall, Tianfu New Area Provincial Cultural Center (Tianfu Culture and Tourism Center), the new hall of Sichuan Museum, Ba Culture Site Museum, Jiangkou Sunken Silver Site Museum, and the new hall of Sanxingdui Museum.

Sichuan and Chongqing will improve public services and launch the high-quality public services integrated development demonstration zone project of Bashu culture and tourism. For example, they plan to start the “all-in-one card” project covering public libraries in Chengdu and Chongqing. By integrating the resource networks of the 86 public libraries in three years, Sichuan and Chongqing will provide “urban studies” to billions of residents.

Sichuan and Chongqing will encourage cooperation in accessible tourism. They are going to jointly develop the public service platforms of “Smart Sichuan Tours” and “Travel Chongqing with Low Budget” and provide 16 services for the public in categories of tourism, culture, and public services through apps, mini-programs, and WeChat official accounts, with mobile terminals (mobile phones) as the carrier.

Sichuan and Chongqing will continuously foster “Love and Passion of Bashu in Chengdu-Chongqing Region,” the brand of regional cultural events. They agree to jointly hold the 5th Sichuan Opera Festival, Chengdu-Chongqing Region Conference on Procurement of Cultural and Tourism Public Services and Products, and other major festivals and events. Their focus will be laid on developing tourism routes such as the exploration route of Bashu ancient ruins culture, the eco-tourism route of golden waterway in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the world heritage route of grotto and stone carving art, the tourism cultural route of Bashu ancient roads, the route of Bashu intangible cultural heritage, the cultural tourism route of Chengdu-Chongqing ancient roads, the natural and cultural tourism road of Jialing River, and the Red Tourism Route with the theme of the Long March.

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