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Hometown of web celebrity hot tourist spot

By ZHAO XINYING | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-12-01 07:07

Tenzin first came to netizens' attention after a photographer posted a video of him on the Douyin short-video platform.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A young man whose good looks and innocent smile have turned him into an internet celebrity has sparked a surge in interest in his hometown among tourists.

Ctrip, an online travel agency, said that after a video of Tenzin, a 20-year-old ethnic Tibetan man from Litang county in Sichuan province's Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture, went viral online last month, the number of searches for Litang soared.

On Ctrip's website, searches for Litang started going up on Nov 20. In the week from Nov 23 through Sunday, the search average shot up 620 percent compared with the previous week and was four times greater than during the National Day holiday in October.

Tenzin first came to netizens' attention after a photographer posted a video of him on the Douyin short-video platform. In the video, the young man wore a traditional Tibetan costume and smiled broadly.

He then posted a short video on his own Douyin account, introducing his white horse in not-so-fluent Mandarin, attracting millions of viewers and followers.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, featured Tenzin in three consecutive tweets on her Twitter account on Monday.

"The channel of Sichuan TV has a new 'anchor'. Tenzin, who broadcasts news in his native Tibetan language as a guest," she wrote.

"Tenzin recently became a social media star after a photo of his bright, sunny and innocent smile had gone viral."

She also posted a short clip of Tenzin riding a horse and introducing himself in subtitling: "They call me 'prince on a horse'. The happiest thing for me is to race horses with my bros. I'm really good at horse racing and often rank first in our village."

Tenzin has now been hired by Litang Culture Tourism and Sport Investment Development Co. to promote tourism for the county.

Du Dongdong, the company's general manager, told China Central Television it hoped the herder's son could grow and develop alongside local tourism, which has just started to take off.

He said that Tenzin's job included shooting short videos that introduce and promote the beautiful scenery of Litang county and Garze prefecture, and operating social media platforms.

"To do the job well, Tenzin needs to cooperate with colleagues and learn about a lot of things, such as culture, history, tourism and society. He also needs to improve his Mandarin," Du said.

Tenzin said in a CCTV interview that he didn't know why he had become so well-known to netizens, but he was happy that so many people knew of him, and he was excited to help people learn more about his hometown.

He added that he planned to learn many things and hoped he would do well in his work for the company.

"At the same time, I still want to race horses and continue to be a champion," he said in Tibetan.

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