High-Speed Rail is a New Turning Point for China’s tourism market
High-speed rail, by definition from Chinese State Railway Administration, refers to the railway with commercial train service at the speed of 200 km/h or higher. Since 2007 when the first high-speed rail Jingjin line operated, high-speed rail has brought tremendous convenience to Chinese citizens and also great revenue to the regional tourism industry. It is no surprise that a former undeveloped city with very limited transportation network grabs this opportunity and turns out to become the most popular scenic spot.
Highlight of Zhejiang Province
Lishui in Zhejiang Province is such a typical example. Lishui lies in the southwest of Zhejiang province. The metropolitan area is surrounded by rolling hills and mountain valleys. The unique geographical feature makes Lishui a beautiful place with the splendid landscape. While on the other hand, its inconvenience of transportation has dragged local tourism industry development behind for many years. Until last year, in December, the high-speed rail Jinliwen line has operated successfully. It connects to hangchang line and longtailed line, which means, it will take only 90 minutes from Hangzhou to Lishui, 30 minutes from Wenzhou to Lishui.
In the long run, the high-speed rail is offering much more potential opportunities to local tourism industry because it helps create a ‘high-speed rail travel ecosystem’. In the future, several up-to-date information and services will be integrated to meet tourists’ demand hence form a beneficial economic cycle. Lately, the Yangtze River Delta High-speed Rail Tourism Alliance was established in Lishui. Specifically, on the one hand, the alliance is positively exploring more commercial opportunity along the high-speed rail line; on the other hand, the alliance is functioning as a platform for mutual cooperation between member cities and travel agency websites like Xiecheng and Tongcheng. The Yangtze River Delta area has abundant natural scene resources and rapidly-developing transportation means. It attracts millions of tourists every year. The newly formed high-speed rail travel ecosystem in each region is united to a huge ecosystem, in which each city will benefit from learning and sharing.
Not surprisingly, local government in Lishui has responded positively complying with this great opportunity. Till 7th February, every high-speed rail passenger whose destination is Lishui is offered a free pass to all tourist attractions in the city. When I checked on 12306.com last night, all 9 high-speed rail tickets from Hangzhou to Lishui on the schedule were sold out. It proved that the new high-speed rail line will contribute greatly to the tourism industry revenue in Lishui.
According to Daxue Consulting Market report, the high-speed Hukun line is going to operate in four months. I believe, Like Lishui, Yunnan province will also grab the opportunity to increasingly expand local tourism industry development. Lishui’s success will recur ubiquitously around China.