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Zhuhai’s reputation as major tourist destination on the rise

By Murphy Cao and Owen Fishwick

Updated: 2016-12-12

This coastal city’s scenery, environment, modern infrastructure, hospitality and the enthusiasm of its tennis fans profoundly impressed global tennis players attending this year’s Women’s Tennis Association Elite Trophy Zhuhai earlier this month.

“It’s a very nice city. It’s great, I really like it,” said former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, from the Czech Republic, after winning the tournament in this southern Guangdong city.

Local favorite Zhang Shuai, Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, and other global-top-20 ranked players took part in the tournament, which started on Nov. 1.

“I didn’t expect that many people during the day, but in the end many people came and it was a great atmosphere out there,” said Kvitova, adding that she was glad to play in Zhuhai.

Bringing along their cheers and chants were many spectators from neighboring cities, regions and foreign countries, especially since Zhuhai is located right next to Hong Kong in the east and Macao in the south.

To add an extra sprinkle of refinement to the tournament, the Asia Savor Food Festival was held inside the complex, allowing spectators to enjoy fine Michelin-starred cuisine between matches.

The former champion player Steffi Graf, this year’s ambassador of the tournament, made her first appearance on the Chinese mainland, giving a tennis clinic on Nov. 5 on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the world’s longest cross-sea bridge.

“I love Zhuhai so much,” she said. “The city has a long coast line and boasts hills and lots of water.”

Situated on the Pearl River Estuary, Zhuhai became the host of the highest-level tennis tournament in Guangdong province last year. The city won the rights to host the event until 2020.

Steve Simon, WTA CEO, said the charm and vitality of the city indicate its bright future, and the event serves to promote tennis across China.

International events such as the WTA Elite Trophy, the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, the China International Circus Festival and the Tour of China road cycling race have helped Zhuhai attract more visitors, especially from overseas.

The number of overseas tourists reached 4.7 million last year, up by 2.3 percent year-on-year, including about 600,000 foreign visitors and 4.1 million tourists from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Total tourism revenue for 2015 exceeded 27.7 billion yuan ($41 million), rising 5.9 percent, according to the Zhuhai Statistics Bureau.

Zhuhai has been included in the list of China’s first batch of tourism and leisure model cities unveiled on Sept. 7, and keeps appealing to holiday-makers and travelers from around the world.

Click here to read the original article on The Washington Post


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