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Time for Lijiang to change its tourism model

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-08 07:51

Time for Lijiang to change its tourism model

Lijiang city in Southwest China’s Yunnan province is a cultural center for the Naxi people. [Photo/xinhuanet.com]

AFTER A SPRING FESTIVAL visit, Zheng Yuanjie, a writer known as "King of Fairy Tales", questioned the maintenance fee the local government charges visitors to the ancient town of Lijiang in Southwest China's Yunnan province. Two days later, the mayor of the city replied that the charge was approved by the provincial government. The writer thanked the mayor for his reply, but still questioned the fee. Beijing News commented on Tuesday:

As a representative of the tourist-attracting ancient Chinese towns, Lijiang is in many ways different to what is advertised. Lijiang today is very commercial. In this context, it is incredible that it still charges a maintenance fee to develop its tourism industry.

It can be said that how to end the old town's dependence on the "ticket economy" and secure sustainable development of its tourism industry are the most pressing issues now facing the authorities in Lijiang.

Rather than continuing to rely on the maintenance fee tourists are made to pay, they should plan a transformation of their tourism model as soon as possible.

In this regard, Lijiang does not lack examples it can learn from. Since Fenghuang Ancient Town in Central China's Hunan province canceled its admission tickets, the number of tourists has increased significantly. The changes in the structure of China's tourism market are a test of the wisdom and capability of the authorities in Lijiang to adapt to the changing times.

Rather than continue to count on the ancient city maintenance fee, new ways of protecting the ancient city and promoting the sustainable development of its tourism industry are needed.

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