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China: A Look Back to the Future

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It is almost impossible to overstate the sheer scope and variety that China offers travellers. From space age architecture, teeming ultra-modern cities and state-of-the-art high-speed trains to towering mountain ranges, empty deserts and isolated rural communities that have witnessed little in the way of change for centuries, this vast country provides a stirring blend of the ancient and the contemporary.

The nation’s gargantuan size and multi-faceted personality, therefore, ensure that there’s something for everyone, whether their tastes range across the board or are limited to single interests such as history, food or sightseeing.

Most visitors opt – at least on their first time in the country – to peruse well-known hits. But, as the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, the Middle Kingdom is amply stocked with less obvious but equally thrilling adventures.

The capital, Beijing, may have modernised intensively over the past decade or two but sights such as the Forbidden City – the largest palace complex in the world – retain their exotic allure. While Beijing (despite extensive modernisation) takes great pride in being one of the strongholds of traditional Chinese culture, other megacities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou showcase the country’s most contemporary side. Hong Kong too is a beguiling melange of old and new with vestiges of British colonialism thrown into the mix to create a destination that is completely unique.

China’s amazing landscapes too retain an aura of venerable majesty. It is impossible not to summon up images of Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes when taking to horseback on the epic grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Equally evocative are the fairy-tale karst pinnacles of Yangshuo, the vast open spaces of the Tibetan plateau and riverine wonders such as the Yangtze River and Tiger Leaping Gorge, renowned for cruising and hiking respectively.

 

China - Sun Temple

 

China, however, is not just about history and legendary sights. In fact, China’s National Tourist Office has been very much focused on broadening the country’s appeal by promoting attractions such as modern architecture, art and design and world class shopping that encapsulate the new face of the nation. An emphasis is also being put on the country’s options for ‘soft adventure’, which includes trekking and cycling.

Furthermore many of these options are available in or near some of China’s main cities and resort areas meaning that contemporary dining options, sleek hotels and other creature comforts are always at hand.

Interest in China is certainly growing. According to official figures, in 2014 nearly 4million tourists visited China and growth is certain to continue in the wake of new drives to attract visitors, such as the ‘Visa Free’ options that are now available in many cities.

EXO China adds a new dimension to travel in the region, broadening the range of services provided while introducing an enticing selection of programs to explore its provinces, five autonomous regions and five municipalities. What’s more, EXO China also explore the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

EXO’s aim has always been to create programs for those exploring China to uncover traditions and cultural facets of the country that many visitors regularly miss out on through a standard tour. Each program engages with locals and provides a deep connection for travellers. The focus is on connective experiences that educate guests and reveal China’s ancient civilization through participation and engagement with the country’s people and its incredible landscapes.

Discover why we are excited about the future of China’s inbound tourism as we catch up with EXO China’s Managing Director, Olivier Marchesin. Read on…

 

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