Recommend January 2013 - (Page 110)
CHINA REMAINS A TIME-TESTED DESTINATION
From deserts to sea, villages to great cities, Asia’s premier country has it all.
Of all the spots in the world that stimulate the yearning for travel, China traditionally stands head and shoulders as the premier Asian destination since it opened its gates 40 years ago. This comes as no surprise, as it offers variety as wide as its borders and allurements unlike anything on earth. It’s also not surprising that travel agents consistently pick China as their top-selling destination, constantly tweaking and adjusting their menus to meet the rapid changes within China. Some of the offerings remain constant. Visitors generally want to experience China’s ultramodern cities while simultaneously sampling its timeless culture; Beijing and Xi’an, with their majestic imperial past and a revolutionary period of self-isolation that kept the country as a tourism backwater for more than 50 years, offer the latter. On the other hand, Shanghai, with its modern skyline and vibrant way of life, has become a model for Asian cities. Changes are everywhere, pumped up by almost 30 years of unprecedented economic growth, leaving no way to avoid superlatives in describing China. With more than 1.3 billion people, it is the world’s most populous nation; it has the fastest growing economy in the world and its middle class is growing at a more rapid pace than elsewhere. But scratch under its megacities and huge trade surplus, followed by the sticker shock of its real estate prices surpassing those of New York or London, and one ﬁnds China to be a land of leisure—something it does on its usual grand scale—with an assortment of destinations that awe and astound. Most come just for a glimpse of its Great Wall, a landmark visited by nearly four million people every year where—again— superlatives seem inadequate: It’s more than 5,000 miles long, bisects 10 Chinese provinces and is accurately deemed one of the wonders of the world. Others visit Xi’an to gape at the greatest concentration of terracotta sculptures on earth. Indeed, the list of alluring destinations could ﬁll an old-style telephone book. You want tropical resorts? Try Hainan, generally considered China’s Hawaii. Mountains? The country has ranges that defy the imagination. Deserts? Venture into the arid terrain of the Gobi or Mongolia. Weijian Luo, deputy director at the China National Tourist Ofﬁce in Los Angeles, conﬁrms that “China is a splendid country bestowed in abundant tourist resources with a combination of ancient treasures and modern wonders.” He adds that it is one of the world’s most visited destinations for Americans: More than 1.15 million arrived in 2011. “So vast is its territory and so varied its cultures,” Luo continues, “that one would have to spend a year to experience all its greatness.” Luo adds that 2014 has been designated as “China Year of Ocean Tourism, as the National Tourism Administration focuses on ocean tourism and highlighting beach resorts, cruising and seaside activities.” In line with this theme, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has launched two new vessels—the Century Legend and the Century Paragon—that, with their new comfort and amenities, raise the bar for China river cruising. Says Guy Young, Uniworld president, “We have upgraded our China program for 2013 with these new ships and a new line of
The Bailong Lift in Zhangjiajie.
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.