Remote province in China sees surge in tourism, thanks to hot pot


The beautiful Hexi Corridor in Gansu is part of the Silk Road. — Pixabay

Winter and spring are traditionally quiet seasons in terms of travel in northwest China’s Gansu, as this province tends to experience cold and dry weather at this time of year.

However, over the past three months, the remote Gansu region has witnessed the presence of significant numbers of domestic tourists at its scenic spots along the Hexi Corridor.

Stretching over a distance of nearly 1,000km in Gansu, the Hexi Corridor is part of the ancient Silk Road. A total of five Unesco World Heritage Sites and 53 grottoes are scattered along the Hexi Corridor.

Li Li, a tourist from Guangdong Province, decided to avoid this year’s peak summer tourism season, opting instead for a more quiet time to travel with her parents and child. However, she was surprised by how tourism has changed in Gansu, encountering more tourists than she had expected at scenic spots like Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring in the city of Dunhuang.

Thanks to preferential policies rolled out by Dunhuang’s government last December, the attractions have gained popularity, said Yang Shaojun, deputy general manager of the Dunhuang Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring Tourism Development.

According to Yang, as of April 6, the scenic spots had received a total of 205,310 tourist visits this year – an increase of 65.05% compared with the same period in 2023.

Data from the provincial department of culture and tourism showed that in the first two months of this year, Gansu had recorded 44.5 million tourist visits and pocketed comprehensive tourism income of some CNY30bil (RM19.68bil), an increase of 33.8% and 56%, respectively, compared with the same period in 2023.

In addition to enjoying Gansu’s natural scenery, tourists are also drawn by the local culture and delicacies.

Tianshui Malatang, an iconic hot pot dish with roots in Tianshui, a low-key city in Gansu, has recently garnered considerable attention online, following significant endorsements from food enthusiasts and social media influencers.

In mid-March, the average daily passenger flow at the city’s railway stations surged by some 40% in a week compared to the same period last year, data from China Railways revealed.

Yang Yujuan, director of the social education department of the Wuwei Municipal Museum, has witnessed a considerable increase in the number of visitors to the museum this spring.

The province’s booming tourism is attributable to local efforts to provide high-quality tourism products, options and services – such as granting free tickets for scenic spots and launching innovative activities.

According to He Xiaozu, head of the provincial department of culture and tourism, Gansu will continue to integrate high-quality cultural tourism resources across the province to boost consumption potential and attract more tourists. – Xinhua

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