Leveraging its rich tourism resources and advancing the integration of cultural elements into the tourism industry, Liaoning province is ramping up efforts to build itself into a well-known leisure tourism destination in Northeast Asia, according to its industry development plan for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).
The tourism industry of the province in Northeast China has developed rapidly over the past five years.
Government data show the revenue of the sector reached 622.28 billion yuan ($95.9 billion) in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, a jump of 42 percent from 2015. That signals that tourism has grown into a key area of economic growth spots for the province’s overall revitalization, local officials said.
During the first half of 2021, the province’s tourism revenue increased by 60 percent from the same period last year, and holiday tourism recovered roughly to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Behind the flourishing industry are the growing demand from tourists and expanding investment in the sector.
The provincial government has rolled out a series of policies to improve the protection and utilization of cultural heritage sites, promote reforms in cultural tourism and advance the development of the “ice-and-snow economy” featuring winter sports and tours, as well as related industries. The policies have injected vigor into local cultural and tourism businesses and helped to foster industry-leading companies including China Hualu Group and Dalian Haichang Group.
Liaoning is rich in tourism resources. It has 558 starrated places of interest, including six rated 5A — the highest rank for China’s tourist attractions — as well as nine national-level scenic sites and four national-level ecotourism demonstration zones.
At the same time, the province has a wealth of cultural heritage, including 147 key national heritage sites — such as the Shenyang Palace Museum, as well as three tombs housing royal family members of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) rulers — and 76 national intangible cultural heritage items.
The province is also home to a raft of parks at national level, including six geoparks featuring various landforms, 29 forest parks and two wetlands.
Twelve counties in the province have joined the ranks of revolutionary heritage sites under national protection.
The province is also home to 30 key villages for developing rural tourism and 27 national leisure agricultural and rural tourism demonstration sites.
Amid the boom in Red tourism, which features tours of significant historical sites in modern Chinese history, Liaoning has developed 10 key related routes that integrate major tourist attractions. Five of them have been included in the country’s list of top 100 Red tourism routes, as part of the centennial celebrations of the Communist Party of China this year.
A provincial tourism industrial alliance has been established to encourage cooperation and promote the healthy growth of the sector. To date, the group has a membership of more than 180.
Currently, Liaoning is home to a strong pool of tourism businesses. Of them, nearly 80 are large enterprises focusing on hot-spring tourism, more than 30 specialize in ice and snow tours, and 387 are star-rated hotels, including 25 top rated ones. Some 1,520 travel agencies operate in the province, including more than 10 each generating over 100 million yuan in annual revenue, 224 engaged in overseas tourism and 12 licensed to receive tourists from China’s Taiwan province.
Liaoning is increasing its tourism cooperation with the two other provinces in Northeast China — Jilin and Heilongjiang — as well as the regions of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the west of China. It has also integrated itself into the Belt and Road Initiative, conducting cultural and tourism exchanges with more than 40 countries and regions across five continents.
The city of Huludao is located on the western coast of Liaoning province, bordering the Bohai Bay in the south and the city of Chaoyang in the north. Huludao’s Jiumenkou Great Wall was the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in Northeast China and is rated as a national 4A tourist attraction, with 5A being the highest rating for tourist attractions in China. Its construction dates
back to the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577). This section of the Great Wall is built over the Jiujiang River, where the wall and the water forms a joint force. It is one of a few sections of the Great Wall that runs over water.
The city of Jinzhou lies at the eastern end of the Liaoxi Corridor and is where the Bohai Sea economic rim and the Northeast Asia economic circle meet. It connects the northeastern inland regions with the Bohai Sea. The Wanfotang Grottoes in Yixian county marks the easternmost point of the Grassland Silk Road and is the oldest and largest grottoes site in Northeast China. Mount Bijia, located in the city’s Binhai New Area, is rated as a national 4A scenic spot. The mountain was named after its shape, which looks like a traditional holder for Chinese calligraphy brushes.
Panjin’s Red Beach boasts well-preserved wetlands and has been listed among Wetlands of International Importance by the Convention on Wetlands. It’s also part of the North East Asian Crane Site Network. Located at an estuary of the Liaohe River, Red Beach was designated as a national 5A scenic spot by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Jan 7, 2020.
The city of Yingkou is located in the center of the Liaodong Peninsula and borders the city of Dalian in the south. Yingkou’s Liaohe Old Street, the first trade port opened to foreigners in Northeast China, is the birthplace of Yingkou’s modern commerce and a repository of local history and culture. The architectural heritage preserved in the Liaohe Old Street is a microcosm of the industrial and commercial past of Northeast China. The street is an important source of reference for later generations in studying Yingkou’s urban construction and is regarded as a “museum” housing the oldest and most well-preserved century-old shops in Northeast China.
With the longest coastline among Chinese cities, Dalian is known for its booming port-based economy, trade, industry, finance and tourism. It has won a series of honors, including the Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement. One of the first three cities in China that have been granted the status of the country’s best tourism destinations, Dalian is also a model city for leisure tourism and a pilot zone for cruise tourism development. The Summer Davos of the World Economic Forum takes place in the city every other year.
The city of Dandong is the northernmost point of China’s coastline and connects the Northeast Asia economic circle, the Bohai Sea economic rim and the Yellow Sea economic rim. It is the only city in Asia that has an airport, high-speed railways, a river port, a seaport, expressways and a section of the national border. Mount Hushan (Tiger Mountain) in the city resembles a crouching tiger and is the easternmost point of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Great Wall. It is a must-see attraction for domestic and foreign tourists visiting Dandong.