2020 Conference for Eco-cultural Tourism Cooperation in Northern Greater Bay Area Held in Huadu to Create World-class Tourist Destination


  On December 22, the 2020 Conference for Eco-cultural Tourism Cooperation in Northern Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area was held in Huadu, in which ecological and cultural tourism resources in northern Guangzhou and southern Qingyuan were introduced through multiple channels and diversified methods in an online and offline interaction, focusing on publicity of the development plan of the region for eco-cultural tourism cooperation, in order to provide opportunities and vitality for the cooperation zone. At the meeting, Huadu District and Qingcheng District signed a strategic cooperation agreement, and cultural tourism agencies of five districts and one county (Conghua District, Zengcheng District, Huadu District, Qingcheng District, Qingxin District, and Fogang County) signed a cooperation alliance agreement.

  Themed on "Cultural and Tourism for Prosperity in a New Era", the conference was guided by the Guangzhou Leading Group Office on Promoting the Construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, hosted by Guangzhou Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau, Qingyuan Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau, and the People's Government of Huadu District, and organized by the Leading Group Office of Huadu on the Development of Cultural Tourism, and Huadu Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau.

  It was honored by the presence of Xu Ying, Class 1 Consultant of Guangzhou Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau, Xing Xiang, Deputy Secretary of Huadu District Party Committee and District Mayor, Guo Gongtian, Director of the Standing Committee of Huadu People’s Congress, Chen Jiafei, Chair of the District CPPCC, Zou Xuan, Member of the Standing Committee of the District Party Committee and Director of the Huadu Publicity Department, Cheng Xuejin, Member of the Standing Committee of the District Party Committee and director of the Huadu Party Committee Office, and Min Fei, Deputy District mayor of Huadu. Officials from cultural tourism agencies in Guangzhou, Qingyuan, and the “five districts and one county” within the cooperation zone, famous domestic experts and scholars, and elites of cultural tourism business were invited to discuss at the conference about cooperation and mutual development for a new era of regional win-win cooperation in cultural tourism.

  A world-class tourist destination is around the corner

  In his important speech delivered on September 22 this year at a symposium attended by experts and representatives from China's education, culture, health and sports sectors, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that, "a more prominent place in the whole picture should be given to the development of the cultural sector during the 14th Five-Year Plan period" , and that "cultural industry and tourism industry are inseparably connected, and we must promote integrated development of the two, using culture to shape tourism, and tourism to promote culture”. In the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area it is clearly stated to "build a bay area of leisure" and "build a world-class tourist destination in the Greater Bay Area." During their research tours in Huadu for matters of cultural tourism main leaders of Guangzhou Party Committee also required that efforts should be made to raise the integrated development level of "culture, business, tourism and sports" , and enhance the potential for future development. All these point out the direction for the cooperation and integrated development of eco-cultural tourism in the northern Bay Area in the new era.

  Under the support of Guangzhou Greater Bay Area Office, Guangzhou Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, Television, and Tourism, and Qingyuan Bureau of Culture, Radio, Film, Television, Tourism, and Sports, since 2018 Huadu, Conghua, Zengcheng, Qingxin, Qingcheng, and Fogang have been exploring and promoting the construction of eco-cultural tourism cooperation zone in the northern part of Greater Bay Area. They have signed the "Framework Agreement for the Cooperative Construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Tourism Ecology Pilot Zone" to build a cross-regional cultural tourism cooperation platform. The sudden advent of COVID-19 in 2020 brought unprecedented impact on economic and social development; and the cultural tourism industry, taking the brunt of it, was particularly hit, which gave rise to severe challenges to regional cooperation. Huadu District has endeavored to coordinate the efforts of pandemic control and economic and social development, adapt itself to changes, find new opportunities in the crisis, and break new ground in the changing world. Leveraging on Sunac Cultural Tourism City in Huadu, Chimelong Park in Qingyuan, Horse Club in Conghua and other eco-cultural tourism resources in north, Huadu strengthens the interconnected development with surrounding areas, and work together to plan and compile the "Cooperation Zone Development Plan", by doing so lay a solid foundation for accelerating the construction of the northern Greater Bay Area Eco-cultural Tourism Cooperation Zone.

  Moving along with the country's accelerating formation of a new development mode that is based on internal circulation and features reciprocal advancement of internal and external circulations, seizing the historic opportunity of the construction of Two Areas (Pilot Demonstration Area of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area) and the interaction between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and leveraging on the combined advantages of "cultural tourism resources + air-rail combined transport + international vision of Hong Kong and Macau”, Guangzhou and Qingyuan have joined hands to build a high-level eco-cultural tourism cooperation zone in the northern part of the Greater Bay Area. It is a perfect time for Huadu to build itself into an important pillar of Guangzhou’s plan to become an international consumption center city and a world-class tourist destination.

  Achievements made after three-year development of Huadu Cultural Tourism

  Since 2018, centering around the goal of "creating a tourism destination in the greater area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao", Huadu District has been actively cultivating players in the cultural tourism market, planning the construction of an eco-cultural tourism cooperation zone in the northern part of the Greater Bay Area, vigorously promoting the integrated development of culture, business and tourism, and creating the cultural tourism brand of "Flowery Huadu”; and much positive progress has been made.

  Statistics show that on year-on-year basis, Huadu recorded 6.6% increase in total number of visiting tourists, and 8.21% increase in total tourism revenue in 2018; and 2019 witness 24.49% growth in total number of visiting tourists, and 36.04% growth in total tourism revenue; it is nothing short of a leap forward. Since March 2020, the cultural tourism market in Huadu has recovered steadily, and the number of tourists visiting scenic spots in Huadu District during the National Day holiday has returned to the same level of the same period last year.

  Guangzhou Sunac Cultural Tourism City, the leading project of Huadu's cultural tourism industry, officially opened for business on June 15, 2019. In the first six months after its opening, the City received 2,386,500 tourists, and showed a significant effect of attraction, bringing about 10,000 additional tourists to the District every day. As of the end of November this year, it has received 2.524 million tourists. The successful settlement Sunac Cultural Tourism South China Headquarters and Nanhu Travel Headquarters in Huadu sparked a new round of development. Continuous efforts have been made to promote the progress of ongoing cultural tourism projects like Habitat Creek Fragrance Town, Wangzishan Project, Meihua Aviation Town; agreements have been successfully concluded for Guangzhou North Railway Station Duty Free Complex, Jiulong Lake "Bay • CTS World", "Digital Cultural and Creative Park” of NINED, and other cultural tourism projects, attracting a total investment of about 24 billion yuan.

  Powerful supporting policies and facilities

  In response to the Covid-19 pandemic Huadu has took various steps to boost the recovery of cultural tourism market: issuance of “11 Supporting Measures for Cultural, Tourism, Accommodation, and Catering industries”; establishment of a rapid approval mechanism for cultural, tourism and sports activities; monthly cultural and tourism activities of “Flowery Huadu” to benefit the people; 7.94 million yuan given to enterprises support in support of cultural, tourism, accommodation, and catering business; five types of electronic coupons for "food, housing, shopping, travel, and entertainment" distributed to citizens, with 43,356 coupons, and 40,464 participants of luck draw; livestreaming of "cloud" tourism activities, with an accumulated audience of 49.889 million.

  Huadu rolled out 7 supporting policies, which covers the dimensions of objective, positioning, industry, capital, land use, talents, promotion activities, to ensure prosperous development of the cultural tourism industry, i.e. “Work Plan of Huadu District for Promoting the Development of Tourism Industry and Creating Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Tourist Destination (2018-2020)", “Guiding Opinions of Huadu District on Promoting the Development of Homestay Industry", "Policies and Measures of Huadu District for Accelerating Tourism Industry Development", "Several Measures of Huadu District for Promoting the Development of Accommodation and Catering Industry (Trial Version)", "Supporting Measures of Huadu District for Accelerating the Development of Digital Cultural Industry (Trial Version)", "Policies and Measures of Huadu District for Supporting Cultural, Tourism, Accommodation and Catering Enterprises in Response to the Pandemic" and "Huadu District’s Work Mechanisms for Quick, Coordinated Approval of Cultural, Tourism and Sports Activities". 1.42 billion yuan travel-related funds has been invested since 2018 to optimize the tourism development climate and accelerate the development of whole-region tourism in Huadu, in particular for supporting projects of urban landscapes, beautiful villages, public cultural facilities, characteristic towns.

  In order to create a tourism brand of its own, the District introduced two mascots of "Huahua” and “Dudu”, aiming for a new image for the brand of "Flowery Huadu". Cultural tourism activities of four seasons have been launched under the theme of “Flowery Huadu”. The brand influence of "Flowery Huadu” has been in continuous growth thanks to a wide range of cultural tourism activities, including the New Year series, "Flowery Huadu·City Brimming with Love"-2020 Huadu Cultural, Commercial, and Travel Month, "Huadu Labor's Day Shopping Festival · Travel and Shopping”, "Travel in Huadu and Yangshan for Prosperity" , “Flowery Huadu · Midsummer Invitation", and "Flowery Huadu · Golden Autumn Trip" .

  Continuous upgrading of cross-regional cooperation

  Huadu takes the initiative to participate the construction of the Greater Bay Area, having reached consensus on cross-regional cultural tourism cooperation with Conghua, Zengcheng, Qingcheng, Qingxin, and Fogang. The District has carried out research on eco-cultural tourism cooperation zone in the northern part of the Greater Bay Area, prepared a "Cooperation Zone Development Plan", formulated a "Cooperation Zone Construction Plan", and is working with cooperation partners to develop an overall space layout featuring "one leading core, three interactive axes, one connecting belt, and joint construction by 4 regions” to build a world-class leisure and tourism destination based in the Greater Bay Area and reaching the world.

  Taking the opportunity of the opening for traffic of the Guangzhou-Qingyuan intercity rail that connects Qingyuan downtown, Chimelong, Guangzhou North Railway Station, Sunac Cultural Tourism City, and Baiyun Airport, the two cities forge closer ties by jointly holding cultural tourism promotions, and "walk across" Guangzhou-Qingyuan hiking event, build together tourism brands, and design tourism product profiles. In addition, Huadu and Qingxin are negotiating on a cooperation agreement to build a hiking and fitness trail along the Wangzishan Mountains that will connect tourism attractions in the two districts, and to carry out in-depth cooperation in the connectivity of tourism service facilities.

  Relying on the comprehensive air-rail combined transportation system of Baiyun International Airport and Guangzhou North Railway Station, Huadu pool together commercial service and cultural tourism resources, like Sunac Cultural Tourism City, Jewelry Town, Flower Town, Digital Cultural and Creative Industry Park, Shengdi Global Trade Center, and Meihua Aviation Experience Base, to created a integrated development belt of commerce, culture and tourism.

  It is the hope of leaders of Huadu District that the 2020 Conference will be a good possibility to discuss in depth the development plan of the Greater Bay Area, to listen carefully to the opinions and suggestions of experts and scholars on promoting cultural tourism integration and regional cooperation between Guangzhou and Qingyuan; and Huadu is looking forward to working with sister districts and counties of the cooperation area in thorough implementation of the new development concepts of innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing, and accelerated construction of the "cultural tourism +" industry chain, thereby to jointly build a cultural tourism consumption center. People of insight from all over the tourism industry are welcome to investigate, negotiate, and invest in the cooperation zone, and share the huge dividends of the high-quality development of the cultural tourism cooperation zone.

  Tourism development alliance established for the cooperation zone

  Huadu District and Qingcheng District signed at the Conference a strategic cooperation agreement. Aiming at joint creation of an ecological and cultural tourism cooperation zone in the northern part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the two Districts will engage in comprehensive tourism cooperation in a pilot area of the cooperation zone (Huadu District of Guangzhou, and Qingcheng District of Qingyuan) to advance high quality integrated development of Guangzhou and Qingyuan, with focus on promoting the construction of tourism transportation and public service systems such as Guangzhou-Qingyuan Tourism Avenue, tourism trails, and tourism sign system, integrating the tourism resources of the cooperation pilot zone, innovating the integrated tourism development model, and upgrading conditions for the development of tourism in the cooperation zone. The goal is: to have functional regional cooperation system and mechanism in place, jointly build tourism public service system, plan and construct Guangzhou-Qingyuan Tourism Avenue and tourism trails, and jointly create a batch of high-quality tourism routes and brands in the pilot zone by 2023; and to steadily advance regional construction, jointly expanded the investment and financing channels of the pilot zone, comprehensively improved the level of tourism infrastructure and public services, jointly construct and share in cooperative projects, and ensure continuous growth of brand influence and competitiveness of the pilot zone by 2025.

  With the cooperative alliance agreement signed by their cultural tourism authorities, the five Districts and one County (Conghua District, Zengcheng District, Huadu District, Qingcheng District, Qingxin District, Fogang County) will focus on the “Construction Plan for the Eco-cultural Tourism Cooperation Zone in the North of the Greater Bay Area”, thoroughly carry out the strategy of coordinated regional cultural tourism development, and leverage on cultural tourism advantages and resources unique to the cooperation zone to create a world-class leisure tourism destination in the Greater Bay Area. The cooperation will cover tourism marketing, characteristic tourism products, cultural tourism industry projects, cultural tourism public services, and external cultural tourism exchanges.

  According to Wang Zhigang, a well-known Chinese strategy expert, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Tokyo Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area, and New York Bay Area have become the four most active regions in the world economy. Data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization show that the Greater Bay Area has the fastest growth in tourism in China. Eco-cultural tourism cooperation zone in the northern part of the Greater Bay Area is an important way to promote urban-rural integration in the junction area between Guangzhou and Qingyuan, and to break the urban-rural dual structure.

  Zhong Linsheng, a researcher at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that cultural tourism development would become an important driving force for the development of the cooperation zone in the north of the Greater Bay Area; the combination of "Greater Bay Area tourism resources + Hong Kong and Macao international vision" would help build the cooperation zone a Greater-Bay-Area-based world-class leisure and tourism destination with global influence, which in turn would promote the integration of various elements and the improvement of overall regional development.

  And Tang Yong from China Travel Group stated that in the post-epidemic era, China Tourism Group would focus on the Greater Bay Area market, seize the window period of the upgrading and transformation of China's tourism and cultural industry, adapt to new consumption habits and new travel thinking, and follow the trend in business operation; on the basis of improving traditional business such as travel services, sightseeing in scenic areas, leisure vacations, and hotels, the Group would vigorously expand personalized, customized, and experiential high-quality products, build a good cultural tourism ecosystem, and promote the high-quality integrated development of cultural tourism.


  Richer supply of cultural tourism products

  More cultural tourism products are continuously provided in the fields of "food, lodging, travel, shopping and entertainment",

  1. "Food in Huadu": pressed forward with the establishment of Huadu District Catering and Hotel Association, implemented the "Cantonese Cuisine Master" project, added another 2 diamond-level restaurants, and created 4 Cantonese chef training centers; held public appraisal for Huadu landmark food--28 landmark delicacies, 10 famous chefs and 10 famous restaurants were selected and included in the Huadu Food Guide; all for the creation of a new business card of "Food in Guangzhou-Huadu Taste".

  2. "Lodging in Huadu": regulated the development of Huadu homestay industry, and completed the registration of certain homestay services with Huadu characteristics; in particular, three homestay service providers, Yunshan House, Xiyun Xiangsu, and Taoshe Hotel, being rated as 2-star Kapok homestays, were included in the list of the first 10 star-rated homestays of Guangzhou; and promoted the creation of the internet-famed RV camp, Begin Camping No. 1.

  3. "Travel in Huadu": red tourism: renovated the old site of the first Peasant Association of Hua County, and build it a party member education base and a destination of red cultural tourism;

  Rural tourism: accelerated the progress of projects like Chini Lingnan Bonsai Industry Demonstration Base, Gangtou Lingnan Demonstration Village, Hongshan Lingnan Demonstration Village, and Cangshuyuan Demonstration Village; pressed forward with new forms of business, such as ecoagriculture, rural tourism, leisure and elderly care, and cultural creativity in accordance with local conditions. The District has added to its list 1 Guangdong Demonstration Site for Leisure Agriculture and Rural Tourism (Baosang Garden), 1 provincial-level characteristic cultural and tourism village (Hongshan Village), 3 municipal-level characteristic cultural and tourism villages (Hongshan Village, Longtou Village, and Luochang Village), 4 rural tourist spots (Zhudong Village, Maling Village Botanical Garden, Lovochuan Agricultural Sightseeing Park, and Zhihui Farm), and top ten District-level flower watching spots.

  Edu-tourism: Innovate for first of its kind "educational tourism" model in the country, selected 13 edu-tourism bases including Guangzhou Folk Museum, organized primary and middle school students for fun educational tours, summer educational tours and, autumn and winter educational tours, and experience innovative "edu-tourism + comprehensive quality evaluation” education mode.

  Sports tourism: vigorously develop sports tourism, and actively cultivate 4 sports tourism brands, including "Rock 'n' Roll Marathon", Tropic of Cancer Trekking, Intoxicating Huadu Tour, and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Ski Elite Challenge.

  4. "Play in Huadu": launched and optimized 8 one-day, two-day, and three-day boutique tourism routes under the themes of "seeking flowers in spring and summer, seeking rhyme in autumn and winter, and seeking oxygen in four seasonsundefined among them, the rural cultural heritage tour has been recognized as a provincial-level rural tourism boutique route.

  5. "Shopping in Huadu": based on the traditional travel souvenirs such as mountain spring tofu pudding, Tanbu taro, and Jingtang lotus root, a set of 10 top ten souvenirs with regional characteristics of Huadu were announced.

  6. Huadu Smart Travel: with successful completion of the big data center for tourism, Huadu launched the "Huadu Smart Travel" app, developed a "Huadu Cultural Tourism” official account on Wechat, and built "Culture Cloud" platform to provide smart tour guides and electronic docent services; now “traveling around Huadu with one smart mobile phone” is a reality.