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Xizang to promote outdoor sports

By Palden Nyima and Daqiong in Nyingchi, Xizang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-11 09:39

Domestic and international experts have called for increased efforts to promote outdoor sports in the Xizang autonomous region, which they believe could become a new engine for economic growth.

The discussions took place at a roundtable meeting during the 4th China Xizang Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation in Nyingchi last week.

Pan Shihua, assistant to the president of China Sports Industry, highlighted Xizang's rich outdoor sports resources, including high-altitude snow-capped mountains, pristine forests, lakes and grasslands. He said they position the region favorably for developing the outdoor sports industry.

"The vigorous development of outdoor sports in Xizang is currently in the spotlight," he said, adding that outdoor sports have become a new engine for consumer spending.

According to the online travel platform Mafengwo, activities like camping, rafting, skiing and hiking have consistently ranked high in search popularity in recent years.

Pan said Xizang has the potential to become a global destination for outdoor sports, and suggested focusing on mountain sports to create a world-renowned mountain outdoor sports destination.

He also recommended establishing a multilevel mountain sports event system, introducing international competitions and hosting domestic mountain sports events.

In recent years, Xizang has taken steps to establish a complete mountain climbing industry chain, including setting up a mountaineering guide school, adventure service agencies and hosting various events to attract attention domestically and internationally.

As part of the consensus reached at the forum, Xizang signed a framework agreement to enhance exchange and cooperation in high-altitude mountaineering with Nepal.

Serge Louis Koenig, foreign affairs director of the National School of Mountain Sports in France, compared the mountains in Xizang to the Alps.

"The altitude in Xizang is much higher, which could naturally limit mass tourism and its negative environmental impacts," he said.

To meet tourists' recreational aspirations, Koenig suggested diversifying leisure activities throughout the year, including land, water and air activities. He said France hosts over 500 trail running competitions each year, including the renowned Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.

Koenig said Lhasa could host a similar event, winding through the mountains around the city and connecting 10 historic monasteries over a 200-kilometer course with a total elevation gain of 8,848 meters, the height of Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West.

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