52m visitors boost revenue
The development of Wuhan's tourism industry has moved into high gear in recent years, as traditional attractions have been complemented with a modern tourism infrastructure. This improvement has transformed the city from a tourism distribution centre into a favourable destination in its own right.
According to Wuhan Municipal Tourism Bureau, tourism income from January to June this year jumped 33.2 per cent to 43.2 billion yuan (HK$52.7 billion) from 51.7 million visitors, including 480,000 from overseas.
The city has recorded healthy growth from markets such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany and the United States. And, with the launch of the high-speed rail link from Guangzhou in December 2009, the number of Hong Kong visitors jumped by more than 57 per cent last year.
The Wuhan-Guangzhou rail link has injected new impetus into the development of the tourism industry, and the city is looking to capitalise on the opportunity brought by more convenient transport networks.
The tourism bureau says a range of diverse offerings keep the visitors coming in, ranging from sightseeing tours to resort relaxation tours, study tours, and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions facilities. The city also has some of the largest and best exhibition facilities.
The transport infrastructure is efficient and comprehensive, including light rail and metro systems, while hotels and other accommodation offer services and prices to fit different demands.
All in all, its attractions, facilities and strategic location in the heart of central China make Wuhan a perfect destination for different types of travellers, whether they are seeking leisure, study or business.
Wuhan's municipal government is planning to invest an additional 100 billion yuan in tourism-related facilities as part of a focused development plan for China's central/middle-zone provinces.
Wuhan is situated in the middle of Hubei province, and the rapid development of the surrounding region makes the city an important strategic supporting point for central China and a significant functional centre for economic activities including trade and now tourism. According to the tourism bureau, Wuhan's tourism business has great potential for expansion.
'Under the latest tourism campaign slogan, 'Big River, Big Lake, Big Wuhan', this year we will focus on our scenic spots and the Xinhai Revolution and Zhongshan Warship museums. With regard to the promotion of tour attractions, we will feature the city and our beautiful natural environment, rivers and lakes,' the bureau says.
To increase publicity, the bureau has produced a special promotional video by inviting some of the country's top directors and photographic teams, who used the most advanced aerial photography and high-definition film technology to display the beauty of Wuhan from different visual perspectives.
The city's role in important historical events is also being promoted to tourists. A major focus this year is the 100th anniversary of the Wuchang Uprising.
'To commemorate this, we will focus on this historic aspect of Wuhan with an emphasis on promoting museums and the relics related to this important piece of modern Chinese history,' the tourism bureau says. Another tourism highlight was the Cherry Blossom Festival in March.