Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, released five travel packages this month targeting the North American market, highlighting mountain adventures and folk customs.
The customized trips offer four to six-day tours for foreign visitors to experience both the natural landscapes and cultures of Guiyang and other cities, according to Yang Hui, director of marketing at the Guiyang Tourism Development Committee.
Discounts on flights, accommodation and entrance tickets for attractions will be open to tourists on the tours throughout 2018, he said.
The new packages were especially designed for the ASTA China Summit 2017 held by the Guiyang government, the Guizhou Tourism Development Committee and the American Society of Travel Agents from Nov 5-11.
At the event, ASTA awarded Guizhou the title of 2018 Key Strategic Destination Partner in China, and recognized Guiyang as The Most Promising Tourism City of China in 2018.
Guizhou features a mountainous landscape with the Yangtze and Pearl rivers flowing through it, and is home to 49 ethnic groups. It made the New York Times' list of 52 Places to Go in 2016.
Robert Duglin, vice-president of ASTA, said in his speech at the summit that the massive green hills, blue sky, white clouds and various ethnic cultures of Guizhou represent the real China, which United States visitors will absolutely fall in love with.
As a travel organization covering 80 percent of the US market, ASTA has about 8,000 members, including travel agencies, hotels, car rental suppliers and individual tour guides, serving more than 140 countries and regions.
During the weeklong event, about 130 travel agents from the US and 200 from China visited major scenic spots in Guiyang, and attended academic forums and business negotiations.
Duglin said the place not only provided an ideal cross-border travel product, but a cultural feast for audiences.
During their visit to Qingyan ancient town, attendees took photos of temples and pavilions in traditional architectural styles from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911).
Women from the Miao ethnic group played folk drum music to welcome guests at the Multicolor Art and National Costume Museum.
Travel agency operator Bonnie Becker said the smiling faces and passionate gestures of the female dancers were very appealing, and the Miao embroidery they saw at a folk museum recorded the living scenery and history of the ethnic group.
Guizhou released its three-year plan to develop inbound tourism earlier this year. The number of foreign tourists visiting the province increased 17 percent last year, most of whom were from the US, according to a US outbound tourism market report unveiled at the summit.
Yuan Yunlong, director of the Guiyang Tourism Development Committee, said local tourism had mainly targeted Asia-Pacific regions in the past. Through the event, customers from North America may gain a better understanding of Guiyang in future, he added.
Guiyang travel agents signed cooperative agreements with their US peers to attract visitors, promote tourism and research travel products at the event.
Members of the Guiyang Tourism Association will attend a promotional event in the US. Experts from ASTA will help promote training, market exploration, travel products and high-end hotel development.
The local government is also working on opening international airlines connecting Northern American countries and Guiyang. Details of the five travel packages will be announced to the public through magazines, websites and conferences in 2018.