has become a pillar resource of China's travel industry, a
conclusion drawn by China's Great Wall Investigation Team after two
months of inspection from August to September this year.
The China Great Wall Investigation Team, organized by China's Great
Wall Society, started examinations from Hushan, by the Yalu River,
Liaoning Province, in the east, moved through Liaoning, Hebei,
Tianjin, Beijing, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu, to Jiayuguan in
the west, touring more than 9,000 km (5,590 miles) to complete the
largest ever onsite investigation of the Great Wall of the Ming
According to China's Great Wall Society, 15 million people from all
over the world have visited the Great Wall in recent years. The
Great Wall has become one of the most popular tourist attractions
in the world.
The Badaling section of the Great Wall, located in Yanqing County,
Beijing, received over 60,000 people per day during the high
season. Last year over 5 million tourists contributed 150 million
yuan (US$18 million) to income through entrance tickets. Meanwhile,
during the past 50 years, the Badaling section of the wall has
welcomed more than 380 visiting foreign heads of state and prime
ministers, witnessing a series of important historical events in
Chinese diplomatic history. In this sense, Badaling has become a
symbol of China's policy of opening up to the outside world,
representing peace and friendship.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the
Chinese government first restored and opened the Juyongguan,
Badaling and Shanhaiguan sections of the wall, in order to promote
tourism. Later other sections of the wall were repaired and opened,
including the Jiayuguan, Jinshanling, Mutianyu, Simatai, Jiumenkou,
Huangyaguan, Yumenguan and Yangguan sections, along with additional
structures such as Wei (a garrison town where troops were
stationed during the Ming Dynasty), Suo (a garrison post
pass), passes, blockhouses, watchtowers and signal towers.
The Great Wall's restoration not only re-demonstrates its
historical greatness and enhances its protection, but also adds
relevant services, providing more conveniences for tourists. Today,
in addition to the general sightseeing tours, various specific
travel programs are booming around the Great Wall, such as the
Great Wall Marathon, the Great Wall Summer School, the Great Wall
Investigation and the Tour along the Great Wall among others.
Apart from the well-known sections such as Badaling, Shanhaiguan
and Jiayuguan, some little known sections such as the Hushan
section in Liaoning, the Baiyangyu and the Qingshanguan sections in
Hebei, the Shoukoubaozi, the Deshengbao and the Laoniuwan sections
in Shanxi, the Yangjiacheng section and the Yulin section in
Shaanxi, the Shandan and the Dunhuang Tuhang sections in Gansu, are
all now beginning to attract a large number of tourists.
Meanwhile, there are still more sections of the Great Wall being
repaired and developed for tourists in the near future.
What's more, like a gigantic dragon's body, the Great Wall winds up
and down across deserts, grasslands, rivers and mountains, so
tourists can appreciate these beautiful scenes while enjoying the
magnificence of the Great Wall.
Besides the natural wonders, tourists can visit some world cultural
heritage like the Dunhuang and Yungang grottoes, together with some
national historical and cultural cities such as Beijing, Tianjin,
Dandong, Qinghuangdao, Datong, Yinchuan, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan
(China.org.cn by Zheng Guihong, December 21, 2002)