Editor's Note: Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality has set its GDP growth target at over 6 percent for 2023, higher than the national level of 5 percent. The municipality is experiencing a significant increase in visitors eager to experience its distinctive culture and nature as a result of China's tourism industry's recovery. In this special episode of Responsibility and Confidence, Dan Yanzheng, the vice mayor of the city, discusses the city's prospects for growth as well as efforts to forge a stronger healthcare system.
Chongqing is a region most renowned for its charming natural scenery, fascinating customs, unique specialty products, rich cultural traditions, dazzling night views, and of course, it's spicy hot pot.
Built on rivers and mountains, Chongqing is renowned for its skyline and stunning eight-dimensional cityscape. It features monorails whizzing through structures, cable cars gliding over the Yangtze River, and trains zipping through the sky. These have all gained a lot of attention on social media, both at home and abroad.
According to a survey conducted by the Chinese Tourism Academy in 2022, the city is the top destination for travelers in China after COVID-19.
Many works of art and literature have also been created here. For example, the Sichuan Opera centered on the heroine, Jiang Zhuyun — a Chinese revolutionary martyr who sacrificed her life for the great cause of the People's Republic of China — won the national Wenhua Award. The dance drama Du Fu depicts the legendary life of the celebrated Tang Dynasty poet. An iconic scene from the drama A Song of Fair Women has been viewed over three billion times online.
Chongqing is making the best of its unique natural advantages in travel-related resources in order to promote integrated and diversified tourism development.
"We will focus on the development of the metropolitan area, the Three Gorges and Wuling Mountains regions. We aim to share all resources and build Chongqing into a leading cultural and tourist destination. We are always happy to welcome visitors from both home and abroad," said Chongqing vice mayor Dan Yanzheng in an exclusive interview with CGTN.
In addition, Chongqing is working with neighboring Sichuan Province in all areas to build the Chengdu-Chongqing Twin-Hub Mega-Region. "We will join hands to develop our economy and build the Bashu Cultural Tourism Corridor," Dan said.
The two regions will share cultural and tourist resources, visitors and markets to foster a world-class tourist destination with a strong international profile, distinctive Chinese features, and unique local flavors. "For the cultural and tourism development of Chongqing, we see no limits, only potential," the vice mayor added.
Dan said that Chongqing's next move will be to boost visitor satisfaction and give them a positive impression of the city. Among the measures include developing brands that reflect Chongqing, improving tourism services, optimizing the tourism environment, developing new tourism business models, and preparing for digital tourism.
With the tourist industry currently experiencing a strong rebound, Chongqing will seize any fresh opportunity to encourage the internationalization of cultural tourism.
He added that "Chongqing is confident and well-prepared to grasp and maximize the opportunities."
The city has initially resolved to deepen international exchanges. And in addition to conducting cultural exchanges and tourism promotion around the world, it will restart signature projects like the "Chongqing Global Travel Agents Conference," "Chongqing Culture Going Global Scheme," and "Chongqing Cultural Tourism Week."
These initiatives will raise the city's profile and popularity on a global scale. Chongqing has also pledged to advance a number of key projects. A priority is in Wulong, Chongqing, where the internationalization of tourism will be piloted.
It will raise Wulong's international standing in terms of product systems, tourism services, promotion and marketing, and brand development, transforming it into a well-known travel destination and a showcase for innovative and sustainable green development.
"By doing so, we can spread the experience gained in the pilot projects, increase Chongqing's international popularity, and promote international tourism in Chongqing," the vice mayor said.
Currently, the city is promoting wider opening up to the world. Last October, Chongqing became the only city in western and central China to be approved to ease foreign investment access in tourism.
"We will fully leverage the policy to enhance publicity, optimize procedures, and encourage and support the establishment of foreign-funded travel agencies in Chongqing, and provide related incentives," Dan said.
He added that, "We strive to translate pilot policies into deliverable outcomes, and promote the opening-up and internationalization of tourism, aiming to become a leader in this field in China."
Chongqing is also aiming to increase access to high-quality medical resources and make sure they are more evenly dispersed around the country as part of its local strategic plan.
The vice mayor emphasized that this will accelerate Chongqing's transformation into a fine example of high-quality living.
"Efforts have been redoubled to offer equitable, accessible, systematic, and consistent quality health services for the general public, so that people enjoy a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness, security, and recognition," Dan said.
There are 44 Grade III hospitals in Chongqing, and grade II Level A hospitals are now available in all districts and counties. Healthcare can now be accessed within 30 minutes in rural areas and within 15 minutes in urban areas. As many as 91.6 percent of hospital visits are made locally.
As introduced by Dan, in the next three years, there will be 100 Grade III hospitals in Chongqing, and at least one Grade III hospital and one public TCM hospital at Grade II Level A and above in each district or county.
"Our investments in primary-level healthcare have been going up each year. The infrastructure of township hospitals and village clinics has been greatly upgraded," the vice mayor said.
The city has also rolled out free HPV vaccination for female students. The target population is 10th-grade female students.
"Considering the HPV infection and the potential benefits of the vaccines, we chose the 10th-grade female students as the priority population," Dan added.
According to its plan, by 2025, every September, all 10th-grade female students in Chongqing will get free HPV vaccines and will be offered to anyone who wants to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, more qualified HPV vaccines will be put into use to meet the healthcare needs of more people.
The city has also formulated the 14th Five-Year Plan of Chongqing in Developing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
In terms of disease prevention, Chongqing will focus on treating illnesses before any symptoms appear. Grade II and above public TCM hospitals will be supported to set up preventative medical care departments.
"In terms of treatment, we will further develop specialties and foster unique advantages. Well-known TCM specialties will be fostered. A number of famous and key TCM specialties in Chongqing will be set up," Dan said.
Under the planned initiative, TCM inheritance workshops will be set up in which experienced TCM doctors serve as mentors to new doctors, thus, training more TCM inheritors.
"We will redouble efforts to communicate TCM culture by building TCM culture education bases and developing TCM culture lectures. In such ways, TCM culture can become a part of people's daily life," Dan added.
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