China to build world’s first panda-themed tourist route
Project will link panda reserves and research centres and include attractions such as panda-themed hotels, according to media reports
The world’s first panda-themed tourism route is to be built in southwest China, according to Chinese media reports.
The route will be aimed at domestic and foreign visitors and will link protected areas for pandas and breeding research centres in Sichuan province, the Chengdu Economic Daily reported.
The sites will include dozens of sites such as the Wolong national panda reserve and a research base in Chengdu.
The infrastructure for the scheme will be put in place over the next couple of years, the report said.
Projects will include panda-themed hotels and camping sites designed for cyclists.
The initiative has been prompted because of the increasing interest in pandas among tourists, according to the province’s economic planning agency.
The main tour attractions are within half an hour to three hours’ drive from Chengdu. Journey times will be cut after a large highway is built in the region in the coming years, the article said.
The giant panda has been taken off an international list of endangered species and is now considered “vulnerable” as numbers rebound.
The latest estimate available last year shows a population of 1,864 adult giant pandas.
The International Union for Conservation said protection work in China had succeeded in arresting the species’ decline.