City Taps Tourism Wujiang Lures Visitors with Ancient Houses

New opportunities in tourism industry are taking shape and are developing fast - with China becoming a firm favourite with tourists.

Famed as garden city, Suzhou has long been one of China's most favoured tourism destinations for domestic and overseas visitors.

Among the 100-odd places of historical interest and scenic spots scattered around Suzhou, Wujiang, a county-level city under Suzhou, offers profound cultural tradition and beautiful water scenery.

While making efforts to develop the economy, the local government has tapped the potential of tourism and have turned it into a pillar industry which in turn has contributed to Wujiang's overall economic development, said Sun Rusong, vice-mayor of Wujiang.

The tourism industry in Wujiang has seen an annual double-digit increase in the past few years, making up a large proportion of the city's gross domestic product.

Statistics show that the city received 1.9 million domestic and overseas visitors in 2001 with a total income of 1.4 billion yuan (US$170 million).

Visitors to Wujiang are all fascinated by the large number of well-preserved buildings and bridges of built in the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911) and the waterside streets and residential houses.

Another feature of this ancient town is its numerous gardens.

One of the most representative in style is the Tuisi Garden in the town of Tongli, a private garden built in the late Qing Dynasty, which was placed on the World Cultural Heritage list in 2000.

"To develop the tourism industry even further, we have made policies to improve and protect the environment and are striving for the goal of State Model City of Environmental Protection," said Sun.

( China Daily April 15, 2002)

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