Past masters present province with a pick-me-up
A visitor tries her hand at painting a paper fan at the 2020 Zhejiang (Beijing) Tourism Fair in the Summer Palace. CHINA DAILY
In the drizzle, the Summer Palace in Northwest Beijing, known as the best-preserved imperial garden in the world, looks both mythical and picturesque.
Not far from Xinjiangong Gate, a group of women in purplish-blue uniforms grab visitors' attention as they line up along Kunming Lake, the UNESCO World Heritage Site's key landscape feature.
Usually, they work around another lake, West Lake, a must-see destination in East China's Zhejiang province, providing information and helping tourists in the area.
Their debut at the palace was part of the opening celebration of a grand cultural and tourism promotion campaign－the Zhejiang Cultural Tourism Week (Hangzhou Day) and 2020 Zhejiang (Beijing) Tourism Fair. The campaign aims to boost exchanges between the two attractions, which are connected by the canal.
Starting in Beijing, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu to the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, it is the longest canal or artificial river globally.
At the fair's exhibition area, artisans from 11 cities in Zhejiang province showcased their unique skills, including traditional paper-cutting, puppet shows, guqin (a seven-string traditional Chinese instrument with a history dating back thousands of years) performances and hand-painted paper fans.
"I'm coloring the flower on the fan and this is quite hard for me as a beginner," said one visitor at the fair. She used an ink brush to paint a lotus flower on a folding fan with watercolor paints.
"The experience is so different from painting on a flat piece of paper," she said. "Because you have to think about how it will look on the blades."
Besides offering a hands-on experience for enthusiasts, one artisan from Hangzhou also shared knowledge about the art of folding paper fans and what people need to create a DIY fan.
"Altogether, there are 15 different types of Hangzhou fans," said the artist, while showing visitors a delicate, black paper fan with brightly colored dots.
At the fair, a series of canal-themed travel routes were released to promote a recovery in the interprovincial tourism sector, which was hit by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Zhejiang province also released consumption coupons worth 500 million yuan ($73.29 million) through online platforms. The vouchers are to encourage spending on tourism products and services.
Tourists can enjoy discounts from late September until the end of November when traveling in Zhejiang province with these e-vouchers.
The stimulus is intended to serve as a substantial boost to the local economy during the eight-day National Day holiday starting on Oct 1, especially for the catering and hospitality industries.
The tourism week is a part of the Beijing-Hangzhou Dialogue, which encompasses various cultural relics, and photo and book shows, as well as meetings and outdoor events.
Themed "Beijing and Hangzhou on the Canal, build a shared new future", the event aims to promote the Grand Canal's cultural attractions and traditions.
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