Mountains put the tourist industry into focus
A MAGNIFICENT waterfall and towering mountains provide a scenic backdrop for the dancers and acrobats performing in Guiyang.
Adding to the city's attractiveness is the local culture and the endless stream of people converging on the food markets in the city centre, day and night.
Combine this with its year-round moderate climate and it is easy to see why Guiyang is not only popular with tourists but also why it is known as the second 'Spring City', after Kunming.
Guiyang's main assets are its natural beauty - waterfalls, landscape, caves, forests and lakes.
Entertainment by minority groups is also a big part of the city's arts scene.
The Miao and Dong groups are the best organised minority races in attracting tourists. Both have built their own cultural villages, providing tourist accommodation and offering handmade arts and crafts for sale.
'There are plenty of scenic spots in Guiyang and its surrounding area. The most famous is the Huangguoshu Waterfall, a two-hour drive from Guiyang,' said the city's tourism deputy-chief Huang Xin, of China's biggest waterfall.
The completion of the Guiyang-Huangguoshu high-grade road has cut the driving time between Guiyang and Huangguoshu in half.
According to Mr Huang, the improvement is part of the government's efforts to upgrade the transport system to attract tourists to the scenic spot.
In the past, the city has been slow in promoting itself. But that is all going to change.
Last year Guiyang had 130,000 visitors, of which 80,000 were foreigners. They generated revenue of less than one per cent of the city's gross domestic product.
Mr Huang attributed this to a lack of resources and manpower.
Compared with neighbouring cities, Guiyang has yet to establish the kind of infrastructure that appeals to visitors.
The number of hotels, travel agencies and entertaining facilities are far from sufficient for the city.
However, Mr Huang said the city had already determined that tourism be given high emphasis in the city's development plan.
'The tourism bureau has recently been given more independence to operate. The specifics are not out yet, but surely more focus will be given to promotion,' he said.
'We have the conditions and the resources in developing tourism. What matters is how we can effectively use our existing resources and shore up the sector as well as its related businesses,' he said.
'Co-operation with other government departments has been strengthened in developing the sector. And we hope that in three years from now, we could generate an income of 500 million yuan [about HK$450 million] from tourism,' he said.