“March 21st is the 7th International Day of Forests, which the theme of the year is ‘Forests and Education’. We take the international festival as the opportunity to promote the development of forest-based wellness tourism.” said Chen Shenji, Director of Planning Department of the Guangdong National Forest Park of Mount Guanyin.
Statistics showed that Mount Guanyin has transformed from a desolated mountain to a popular tourist attraction for people in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau area ever since the establishment of the park in 1999. From being rarely known to having more than 1.5 million of admissions in 2018, it has become a sparkly pearl of ecology, which shows the vitality of Mount Guanyin.
Planting Greenery: Being the ‘Guardian Angel’ to Ecology
“Not only do we initiate tree-planting activities, we also protect the ecological environment of the entire mountain, so as to let Mount Guanyin live up to its good reputation of ‘Green Lungs of the City’ and ‘Natural Oxygen Bar’.” Chen Shenji said protecting the environment requires full effort and cooperation in order to keep it within the ecological redline.
Huang Ganbo, Chairman of Guangdong National Forest Park of Mount Guanyin said, “Taking environmental protection as the premise of all development activities, we strive to build a new reputation for eco-tourism in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau area.” The eco-cultural resources have turned into a product of tourism and developed a path for having both economic benefits and environmental protection.
In order to truly carry out sustainable development of forest eco-tourism, it has done regional planning for the 18 kilometers square of forest resources by dividing it into 3 major zones, the zones will be maintained according to actual conditions. Vegetation protection in the forest is continuously enhanced to avoid damage of vegetation: slashing trees, deforesting and hunting wild animals are strictly prohibited.
A Fusion of Culture and Travelling: Colors of the Forest and Culture
The beauty of nature and culture in Mount Guanyin complement each other by adding cultural elements into the natural environment, which deeply reflects the aesthetics and commercial values of the two.
Mount Guanyin has been adhering to the development concept of ‘Culture is the Best Resources for Tourism, and Tourism is the Largest Market for Culture’ by putting cultures of forest, health and wellness, leisure, marriage, and tradition into the development of tourism.
Mount Guanyin makes full use of natural resources to organize different sorts of leisure activities and events, forming a very relaxing atmosphere and developing culture of health and wellness. Mount Guanyin supports the call of “National Fitness”. Since 2009, the Dongguan City National Fitness Hiking Day has successfully held for 10 years.
Urban Youth Festival held in Mount Guanyin attracts more than a thousand tourists, raising the awareness of the correct way to reduce stress, which promotes a healthy lifestyle and increases the happiness level of the people. Additionally, organizing activities that include camping and hiking in forests such as Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Dongguan Hiking Festival, New Year’s Hiking Event, Summer Night Music Camping Festival enhances the status of Mount Guanyin for being a healthy and energetic place in Guangdong.
Study tours are planned based on the resources and culture provided. The aim of the study tour is to promote the importance of parent-child relationship while combining the unique environment and cultural resources. In spreading popular science education, the tour involves visiting the non-profit Museum of Ancient and Valuable Trees which was established in 2004. The Museum is free of charge for Chinese citizens and Southeast Asian tourists since the opening. It has become an important venue in raising the awareness towards the environment.
People’s Livelihood-Oriented: Tourists are Filled with Happiness After the Visit
“There’re a few early mornings that I’ll go hiking on Mount Guanyin every month as I’m used to waking up early to exercise. The key is to go there before 7:00a.m., it’s free!” said Mr. Cheng, a citizen. Many citizens go to Mount Guanyin to exercise early in the morning. They said Mount Guanyin provides an affordable leisure area for the people living around.
Though Mount Guanyin is a private enterprise, in terms of affordability, the ticket price of the park has never been adjusted for the past 10 years. The park even has a preferential policy of not collecting the ticket from the locals, elderly of 60 years old or above, current soldier, the disabled, etc. This shows that Mount Guanyin is operated in a fair price.
Mount Guanyin has hosted blind dating events for 34 years. Participants include people from Dongguan, Shenzhen, Huizhou, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau, covering a population of 120 million, and it has attracted 100,000 single men and women to find love. Important contributions and due efforts are made in order to achieve social harmony and development.
“Implanting the concept of Ecological Civilization requires us to change the concept of development. Not only do we want mountains of golds and silvers, we also want clear waters and green mountains. The harmonious coexistence of humans and nature can lead to a better future,” said the person in charge. As a private enterprise, it is the responsibility of Mount Guanyin to protect the environment and benefit the surrounding cities as it is located in the center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau area. With the tourists from the nearby cities, a continuous and sound ecological construction system will be established to ensure the environment of Mount Guanyin is always meticulously taken care of. The culture and story of Mount Guanyin will be promoted and spread, turning it into a unique cultural mountain that is full of charm. (Reporter: Lai Wanying, Correspondent: Yang Man)