The city of Hangzhou has come with a novel idea. It is turning itself into what it calls a ?city of leisure??, something it hopes will act as a kind of ?name card??, Xinhua News Agency has reported. Xinhua quoted Wang Guoping, the city?s Party secretary, as saying, ?A city?s unique characteristics could be said to be that city?s best ?name card?.?? Mr Wang cited Venice, Paris and Vienna as examples and added, ?People think about water, fashions, and music when they talk about these cities. Hangzhou?s goal is to develop itself into a destination for holiday-makers.?? The idea has the backing of entrepreneurs in the local tourist business. One of those, the Songcheng Group, the mainland?s largest private tourist enterprise, recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a 2-billion-yuan (about US$245 million) World Leisure Expo Garden, a project that it hopes will help it win the title of host of the 2006 World Leisure Expo. Hangzhou is the capital Zhejiang province and has long been thought of as ?paradise on earth?? because of what some see as its pleasant climate and fish and rice resources. The city is proud of the scenery around its West Lake, whose praises have been sung by poets of the past and which has made the city one of China?s popular tourist destinations, although in recent years the area has been overrun with entertainment sites. The city had 383,000 overseas tourists in the first half of this year, bringing in US$172 million-worth of foreign exchange, according to Hangzhou Daily. During the weeklong October 1 National Day holiday, 3.2 million Chinese and overseas tourists visited Hangzhou and spent a total of 834 million yuan. These large amounts of revenue have highlighted tourism?s major role in the local economy. It has in turn benefited local people because a certain amount of that money is put back into improving the living conditions. The city?s environment won it a living environment award given by the United Nations earlier this year, Xinhua said.