Zhangjiajie mayor: culture is the soul of tourism

By Li Shen
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, March 13, 2010
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Zhangjiajie, a tourism city in the northwestern part of Hunan Province, has been a hot topic on the Internet since it changed the name of a craggy peak in its scenic area from South Sky Pillar to Hallelujah Mountain, after the floating mountain that appeared in the recent 3D blockbuster "Avatar".

Some Netizens say it is ridiculous for a Chinese scenic spot to have a foreign name. Others think it could be proof that the floating mountains in the movie originated in China.


Mayor of Zhangjiajie Zhao Xiaoming shared with China.org.cn his opinion on this issue.

"Zhangjiajie not only belongs to China, but to the whole world. It has a unique landscape on earth. So I am sure that the Hallelujah Mountain in 'Avatar' originated here. It is not bad for local people to use cultural factors to promote Zhangjiajie. After all, culture is the soul of tourism," Zhao said.

Tourism is a pillar industry for Zhangjiajie. Last year the city attracted 19 million tourists, making it one of the most visited places in China. Tourism revenue reached 10.2 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) in 2009, a 20 percent growth year-on-year from 2008.

An "Avatar Office" has been established and several "Avatar trips" have been launched since January, when the movie became a worldwide hit. The office's director has declared a 100,000-yuan reward worldwide for the person who can find the second original place of the Hallelujah Mountain in "Avatar".


"The 'Avatar' effect makes us realize the driving force of culture in tourism marketing. So at the end of March, we will also be performing a famous Chinese musical in the Tianmen Mountains," Zhao said.

Based on a famous folk love story, the musical depicts the strong affections between a young handsome farmer and a beautiful fox in their struggle for the freedom of love. Producing the musical cost 120 million yuan (US$17.6 million) and is directed by Tan Dun, a famous Chinese composer.


The Tianmen Mountain range is known for its natural water-eroded Tianmen Cave that has the highest altitude in the world. The mountains are only eight kilometers away from downtown Zhangjiajie.

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