• Tourism center revs up 'low carbon' plan to build car campsites
  • china daily 2010-06-08 16:41 Unknow
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    A plan to create vehicle campsites in 10 suburban areas and counties in Beijing recently appeared on the municipal authority's agenda as a "low carbon" project.

    Low Carbon Network News:   This is the first such move to set up such outside vehicular activities in the city.

     

    Beijing will promote its various tourism resources at the coming 2010 Global Travel and Tourism Summit from May 25 to 27, Zhang Huiguang, director of Beijing tourism administration, announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

     

    Zhang said a series of low-carbon projects would take place in Beijing's suburbs.

     

    However, not everyone was convinced just how promoting greater car use could be regarded as "low-carbon".

     

    Climate change expert Zhang Jianyu, who is the China program head of the US-based Environmental Defense Fund, said determining if the project can be classed as low-carbon depends on how Beijingers get to the campsites and what they do there.

     

    "If travelers go there in groups on coaches to take place in some environmentally friendly events, we might be able to say the program is low carbon," Zhang added.

     

    Regardless of the possible pollution issue, tourism director Zhang Huiguang points out the benefits for the economy.

     

    "Improving tourism in the countryside is an important part of Beijing's economic development," Zhang said.

     

    According to Zhang, the capital is expecting 176 million travelers from home and abroad to visit Beijing in 2010, 5.3 percent more than last year. He predicts a total tourism income of 261.5 billion yuan.

     

    "The municipal government should be a major supporter of the vehicle campsite project. If enterprises run the camps, they might charge travelers much more because of their drive for profit," said Wang Xudong, manager of the recreational vehicle (RV) fan site 21rv.com, on Wednesday. 21rv.com has the biggest RV online group in Beijing.

     

    Wang said there has been a large demand for tourist campsites in Beijing for years, but an effective regulation had not yet been formed.

     

    "Beijing citizens' would love to drive to the countryside for fresh air and to get closer to nature during the weekends, but they don't have a place to stay over. No travelers should camp outdoors without some kind of security," Wang added.

     

    He also said some local villagers in Beijing are charging travelers between 10 and 30 yuan per car to park on countryside land, without supplying basic services such as kitchens and toilets. They also fail to pick up trash left by the travelers, Wang added.

     

    "After the camps are built in rural areas, there will be more Beijing citizens making the trip for outdoor events, which will contribute more to Beijing's tourism economy through the purchase of necessary camping goods," Wang added.

     

    The tourism administration would not release more precise details about the construction schedule of the vehicle campsites.