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Sichuan province sees ‘smart tourism’ as smart move

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

07-22-2015 17:46 BJT

By Tom McGregor, freelancer based in Beijing

The Sichuan province in southwest China has become a tourist hotspot. The region has captured the world’s attention after wildlife preservationists launched campaigns to protect panda bears that were dwelling deep in bamboo forests from extinction.

Nevertheless, southwest China offers more for tourists than just pandas as the region boasts  an amazing landscape of mountains, as well as wide-open plains, pristine forests, idyllic rural villages and the big city of Chengdu.

Accordingly, the Sichuan provincial government hopes to boost tourism revenues further by developing more ‘smart tourism’ platforms that utilize the Internet with the most-updated technologies, as disclosed by the news Website, China.org.

Leveraging Web platforms for tourists

Sichuan officials believe that ‘smart tourism’ can help them better manage tourist scenic sites, while tourists can capture real-time information on the places they wish to visit and how to get there with their mobile phones.

The General Office of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Government had issued a press release last month revealing that its innovative ‘smart tourism’ program could also shorten response times for emergency rescue missions, since tourists can be electronically tracked through their smartphones by a GPS locator device.

Let’s say a tourist climbing a remote mountain had broken his or her leg. The wounded climber would still have Wifi access and the ability to call for rescue and then search crews can tap into their smartphone location. The stranded tourist can just wait to be carried off to the nearest hospital. That’s ‘smart safety.’

Generating Big Data with tourism Apps

The Wolong National Nature Reserve, a designated preservation park for panda bears, has incorporated a steady stream of tourism Apps along with WeChat services, virtual field trips, 3D IVR (3-Dimensional Image Virtual Reality), location-aware audio guides and real-time video shows.

Additionally, tourists to southwest China would have access to similar services on their smartphones as the provincial government plans to implement the pilot program to 13 cities and 33 tourist sites.

Not only will visitors enjoy the added convenience of ‘smart tourism,’ but others will benefit as well. Each time a tourist in Sichuan logs on to a specific App via their mobile phones, their location and click would get stored into a cloud database that generates real-time reports.

Hence, investors and marketing teams will know the scenic sites that are more popular than others. And with such information, they can spot trends that could help them determine where to open a new restaurant or shop; or where to post advertising signs.

These value-added services stand as a major win-win for all involved, but the Sichuan province is also famous for its spicy cuisines.

Grabbing a ‘virtual bite’ of Sichaun

Local officials have launched innovative projects to inform the world on the delicious flavors of Chengdu food. Regional dishes have earned global acclaim for their spicy zest. Hence, the capital city of the province, took a trip to Italy to open the ‘Chengdu Cuisine’ pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan from July 6 to 12.

Participants could grab a taste of spicy diced chicken with peanuts, fish-flavored eggplant cakes, stir-fried tofu or bean curd in hot sauce, dan-dan noodles and pearl-shaped meatballs. Expo visitors could also watch Sichuan Opera, witness a traditional tea ceremony and view other Chengdu cultural and artistic performances.

Chengdu has long felt a close kinship to Italy. The globe-trotting Italian explorer had visited the city about 700 years ago and he marveled at the prosperity of the bustling city at that time. He stayed nearby Chengdu’s Anshan Bridges, which were a well-known enclave for local cuisine, according to ANSA news agency.

Discovering more than pandas

Yes, the Sichuan province would always be famous for their cute-and-cuddly pandas, but tourists can see so much more in the region, such as scenic mountains, forests, rivers and basins. And ‘smart tourism’ will make it so much easier for visitors to explore the wide array of beautiful natural scenery. It’s time for more people from all over the world to come and see the glories of southwest China.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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