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Regional tourism becomes digital

By HAO NAN (China Daily)

Updated: 2021-09-08

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The government of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region recently issued a plan to improve integration of the internet and tourism, and accelerate the construction of an online platform called Travel to Guangxi in One Click.

The platform, which serves as a key part of the cross-border tourism service project between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, aims to promote the integrated development of tourism with education, culture, transportation and health via digital and smart technologies.

Designed and built by Guangxi Tourism Development Group, it is expected to cover elements of the tourism industry-food, accommodation, transportation, shopping and entertainment-to provide one-stop services to tourists and help push forward transformation, upgrading and high-quality development of tourism in Guangxi, said officials from the region's department of culture and tourism.

Moreover, by giving full play to its role and advantages as a bridgehead of China-ASEAN cooperation in tourism, Guangxi will boost the cooperation of the platform with related companies and platforms in ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, to share tourism information and resources.

More functions like multilingual services and cross-border guides will be developed in the future to facilitate Chinese tourists touring ASEAN countries, local officials said.

Located in southern China, Guangxi boasts beautiful scenery and unique landscapes featuring mountains and hills. It is a region with a great concentration of ethnic groups including Zhuang, Han, Yao, Miao and Dong, which has strengthened its appeal to tourists.

Chengyang Bazhai, for example, is the largest scenic area of Dong culture in China, with more than 10,000 Dong people living there. The ancient traditions of the ethnic group have all been preserved, and include songs, dances, religious beliefs, folk customs, textile skills and farming.

These villages, situated within Sanjiang Dong autonomous county of Liuzhou, are also famous for their historical bridges and typical wooden buildings of the Dong ethnic group, and include drum towers and houses on stilts, said Liu Li, director of the Liuzhou culture and tourism bureau.

The Chengyang Yongji Bridge, for instance, is one of the most beautiful "wind-rain" bridges of the Dong ethnic group and strongly embodies its ethnic characteristics. Windrain bridges are an artistic construction on a bridge that features pagodas and pavilions across its span. They have a history of more than 2,000 years in China.

The Yongji bridge, built in 1912 in the village of Ma'an, one of the eight villages that make up Chengyang Bazhai, was named by the American Broadcasting Company as one of the world's top 10 most spectacular bridges in 2008.

It was among the first batch of important cultural relics in China under State-level protection, according to the local government.

Chengyang Bazhai has a popular tourist activity called the Bai Jia Yan, which roughly translates to "hundred family feast". The dinner attracts visitors from near and afar to sample Dong cuisine while enjoying the ethnic group's unrivaled hospitality.

As of 2020, a total of 25,000 people in Sanjiang had engaged in the tourism industry by running rural homestay businesses and selling local products.

From January to July last year, Sanjiang received a total of 5.71 million visits, up 124 percent year-on-year; and tourism sales revenue reached 6.7 billion yuan ($1.04 billion), up 125 percent year-on-year.