China’s Nanchang is on the cusp of a tourism boom

The Tengwang Pavilion is a landmark in Nanchang. Source: Shutterstock

NANCHANG, the vibrant capital of the Jiangxi province and one of China’s biggest cities, hopes to encourage more overseas visitors with the release of a new promotional campaign.

Poignantly launched on the 90th anniversary of the Nanchang Uprising and the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the initiative is firmly rooted in the city’s history to help cement its image as the “city of heroes”, according to the Nanchang Municipal Committee for Tourism Development.

Alongside posters of significant landmarks like the Tengwang Pavilion, the  Nanchang Municipal Committee for Tourism Development is also creating a series of videos called “Nanchang in foreigners’ eyes” to enable would-be visitors get to know the city.

Although they will largely be available to view online, one has already made its debut, airing on large screens in Times Square, New York and Ginza Square, Tokyo. The clip highlights the “positive spirit of Nanchang-ers” as well as its landscape, culture and significant historical markers.

But the area is no stranger to tourist attention.

Tourism in the region

Wanda Mall is a 160,000 sq m of luxury retail and entertainment space. Source: humphery/Shutterstock

Tourism is big business in the Jiangxi Province accounting for over 55 percent of GDP in the service industry according to records from HKTDC. In 2015, 384 million domestic visitors were recorded, an increase of 23.5 percent on previous figures.

But the number of overseas tourists for the same period lagged behind at 1.55 million, something that could have been a catalyst for the new promotional campaign.

As the province’s capital city and enshrined in 2200 years of history, Nanchang has much to tempt foreign visitors, from lakes and parks to heritage sites like the Shengjin Pagoda, the Pavilion of Prince Teng, and the Youmin Temple.

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Yet it is the city’s newer attractions that appear to be drawing large crowds. Built on the surrounding mountain range, the 4lm-long Great Wall of Nanchang has captivated tourists as a convincing replica of the real thing – it even features watchtowers.

In its first month of opening, the Nanchang Wanda Cultural Tourism City made headlines around the world as it welcomed two million visitors. The vast resort includes a theme park, state-of-the-art movie park, aquarium, hotel and retail outlets.

Preparing for more visitors

Accommodation inventory is one area to receive attention in Nanchang. Source: Wanda Vista Nanchang

As the city continues to invest in and develop its infrastructure, the needs of a growing tourist population are drawing focus.

Accommodation inventory is one area to receive attention, with AccorHotels alone adding 1,388 guest rooms after it launched three new properties under the globally familiar brands of Pullman, Novotel, and Mercure.

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The Nanchang Metro too has seen investment to extend the service with a second line. The 19.6-km section includes 17 stations to make travel within the city and beyond far easier. Plans for Line 4 have also been approved at the cost of US$3.7 billion. The project should complete by 2021.

Further attractions are also slated including a national archaeological park, China Daily reported. The site, affectionately described as “China’s Pompeii,” is the newly discovered tomb of Haihun Marquis Liu He, which dates back to 92-59BC. It is expected to be a “world-class” attraction when it opens in four years’ time.

With a new tourism strategy in play alongside considerable ongoing investment and development, Nanchang certainly appears on course to entice the overseas visitors it wishes to attract.