Beijing to open more parts of Great Wall to tourists
Opening of Huanghuacheng and Hefangkou sections to ease tourism strain on world heritage site...
Authorities in Beijing have announced plans to open more sections of the Great Wall to tourists. The city will open the Huanghuacheng and Hefangkou sections of the Wall to accommodate a rising number of tourists. The move is intended to reduce pressure on the existing areas of the Great Wall open to tourists, such as Badaling, Mutianyu, Simatai and Juyongguan. “These Great Wall sections are overloaded on weekends and holidays,” Xinhua reported Kong Fanzhi, Chief of the city’s Cultural Relics Bureau as saying. He added that people have already started climbing the closed sections of the Great Wall, damaging the UNESCO World Heritage site. The 600km Beijing section of the Great Wall is one of the best preserved and most popular with visitors. The move comes amid a huge surge in both domestic and inbound tourism in China. 2011 marked the first year of China’s ‘12th Five-Year Plan’, during which time the government said it wants to turn tourism into a “strategic pillar industry of the Chinese economy”. Last year, 2.64 billion domestic trips were taken, up by 13.2% year-on-year, with tourism revenues jumping 20.1% to CNY2.25 trillion. Expanding air links and the new high-speed rail services make traveling around the country easier than ever before. A recent survey found that the Great Wall measures 21,196km - considerably longer than a 2009 estimate of 8,850km.
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