Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Good morning! First of all I'd like to extend my gratitude to Guangdong for their warm invitation, considerate arrangement and warm hospitality. And I'm very delighted to have the opportunity to deliver a speech here on behalf of the tourism circle in Pan Pearl River Delta (PPRD).
Tourism cooperation in PPRD is marked by advantage complementarities, resources sharing, joint market development, information exchange, mutual benefits and joint development. Drawing on these advantages, the PPRD has created the Gold Travel Channel and a huge market for regional travel. And in terms of barrier-free travel and the development of tourism, we have attained substantial results. We hope that with our joint efforts and active promotion, tourism cooperation in PPRD can achieve even better and faster development.
Hunan Province, locating at the edge of inland China and thus being very close to the coastal areas is an important part of the PPRD region. With Guangdong as its southern neighbor and the Yangtze River to the north, Hunan is located between the southern China coastal zone and the Yangtze River zone, both of which are opened to the outside world. It is a province connecting southeastern coastal areas and the central western part of inland China, a hub connecting the east and the west, and the south and the north.
Hunan enjoys beautiful scenery, and is a place producing many outstanding figures. It is rich in tourist resources, with one world natural heritage site, 8 national scenic spots, 9 China's excellent tourist cities, 2 national 5A and 23 national 4A tourist areas, 8 national natural reserves, 26 national forest parks, 3 national historic and cultural famous cities and 33 national key protected historic sites.
We all know that Hunan has very beautiful natural scenery. Thanks to the magic of nature, Hunan has picturesque landscape. World natural heritage Zhang Jiajie has distinctive geological environment, which combines uniqueness, peace, wildness, danger and beauty and is named as the treasure of the nation. Heng Mountain has unique feature of its own among the Five Famous Mountains in China. The Dongting Lake stretches a distance of 800 Li and has a wide expanse of misty water. The ideal world Taohua Yuan, the Mengdong River, Lang Moutain and Huping Moutain offers poetic and picturesque scenes.
Hunan is rich in historic culture. Yan Di mausoleum, Shun Di mausoleum, Liye strips of Qin in Longshan County, Yueyang Tower, the ancient corpse of Mawangdui, the ancient tomb of Xihan Dynasty, Yuelu Academy of a thousand year history, the ancient city of Fenghuang (Phoenix) and other places of historic and cultural heritage demonstrate the splendor of the long-standing Xiangchu culture.
Hunan has produced many outstanding figures in history. Qu Yuan, Cai Lun, Zhu Xi and other historic figures have left with us their rich historic legacy, while Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Peng Dehuai and others of the 1st generation of proletarian revolutionists have written down a splendid page in China's history.
Hunan also has very rich folk customs. In Southwestern Hunan there are many minority groups, including the Dehong Miao ethnic group in Jishou, the Tong ethnic group in Huaihua Tongdao, the ancient town of Tu ethnic group in Yongshunwang Village. Their fantastic songs, dance and customs offer people a unique life and cultural experience.
The travel products of Hunan province are continuously enriched and improved. Now the provincial tourism has Changsha as its center and has developed 8 golden travel routes with Zhangjiajie as the leading destination, which cover the most excellent tourist products in Hunan.
Based on the current 8 selected tour itineraries, ecological drifting, hot spring & healthy activities, urban leisure, rural fun, self-driving tour, red tourism and other special tourist products are continuously developed and improved. The tourist products in Hunan now enjoy more and more popularity in both domestic and foreign market.
Hunan's tourist industry is continuously expanded. Now there are 506 star hotels in the province, including 10 five-star and 31 four-star hotels, and 554 travel agencies, including 38 international and more than 560 domestic travel agencies. And the number of direct employees in Hunan's tourist industry reaches more than 600,000 person times.
In 2006, the provincial CPC committee and the provincial government have established the strategic positioning of enabling tourism to support industries. The tourist industry in the whole province has maintained a sound momentum of rapid growth, with the number of domestic and overseas tourists totaling 91.9 million times. And the total revenue from tourism has amounted to 58.8 billion yuan, up 29.68% compared to the same period of last year, accounting for 7.9% of Hunan's GDP. Thus tourism has become a very important growth pole for Hunan's economic development.
Hunan also boasts relatively advanced transportation infrastructure, with airlines, railways and highways forming a network of transportation. Now Changsha, Zhangjiajie, Changde, Yongzhou and Tongren are the five cities with air terminals. And Changsha and Zhangjiajie are important port cities in the central part of Hunan. Changsha has regular flights to Hong Kong every week. The railway network in Hunan can lead to different parts of China, with Jingguang, Xiangqian, Xianggan, Xianggui, Zhiliu and Shichang as the 6 main railway lines. And Luozhan and Yuhuai railway, I mean the Hunan part of them, have been or will be opened soon. Highway plays a main role in tourist transportation in Hunan. Now a network of highways leading to different parts of the province has also been formed. And Jingzhu Highway, the North-south artery in China, also runs through Hunan. Moreover, Hunan has relatively advanced water transportation. From Yueyang to Wuhan, Yichang and Chongqing, there are many daily cruises.
In terms of geographical location, transportation and resources, Hunan enjoys the same unique advantage as the PPRD does. Hunan's tourism has now come to its golden stage of development. This offers great opportunities for business in all respects. We have also launched a whole series of tourist projects with tremendous potential for development. We'd like to extend our warm welcome to businessmen at home and abroad. Hope you can come to visit Hunan, make investigation and investment, and do business here for common development.
Regional tourist cooperation can promote common and fast development in tourism. We hope that through PPRD tourism cooperation we can achieve a win-win outcome. Different parts of the PPRD have great complementarities and tremendous potential for cooperation for mutual benefits. Actively participating into the PPRD tourism cooperation is not only our responsibility, but also avails us a short-cut for accelerating development in Hunan. We will, with a more open and practical attitude, actively promote the tourism cooperation within this region, manage to establish an open development system, strengthen mutual communication and cooperation in this region, and achieve even smoother barrier-free tourism within the region. Especially in terms of tourist resources development, the PPRD golden travel routes and a regional selected tour network should be established so as to create the most competitive travel brand.
In face of the great opportunity of tourist development, tourism in Hunan will keep pace with the time, make innovation, and accelerate its development. And through tourism cooperation in PPRD, we hope to achieve leaps in Hunan's tourist development and make due contribution to turn China into a tourist power in the world. We sincerely welcome all of you to travel, invest and do business in Hunan.
(Full text of the remarks by Liu Zhiming, Vice Director-General of the Hunan Tourism Administration at the 2007 Pan PRD Tourism Business Promotion Conference on November 23, 2007, as transcribed)