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Water way to make tourism a big splash
chinadaily.com.cn2019-09-20

Something bubbles under the city of Jinan. A resource so simple and yet so valuable.

For 4,000 years people have been drinking the clear waters from the over 800 springs in the area. The long history has absorbed into the central identity of the city today.

Flowing through the center of Jinan, the waters bubble up from seams in the bedrock, spilling out at points such as Black Tiger Spring and Baotu Spring.

Approaching any one of these springs, the first thing you'll notice is the locals hurrying back and forth along damp pathways with large bottles sploshing about with water. Next, you will hear the pitter-patter and smack of the spring itself as it swooshes its way to the surface. At Baotu Spring in particular, three large flows of water can be seen amid a shimmering pool.

There is something cleansing about the sound of water. In the presence of the springs a peacefulness washes over, making it easy to forget you are slap bang in the middle of a metropolis of over 10 million people.

The springs are an asset not taken for granted by locals but they are sadly not well-known to the outside world.

However, not for much longer the city hopes.

Jinan's government has established an alliance of spring cities from across the globe to share their experiences in protecting cultural heritage, sustainable development and tourism strategies.

More than 150 overseas representatives from member cities of the International Spring Cultural Landscape City Alliance traveled to China's "city of springs" recently.

One of them was Martin Veal, a councilor from the city of Bath in the United Kingdom, and a tourism adviser to the Jinan government.

Bath is famous for its thermal springs, with them long being used in therapies to help treat diseases. Today, Bath has built a strong global reputation for its springs and attracts many tourists worldwide, especially from China.

Veal believes Jinan needs a cohesive strategy to better market itself to the rest of the world. It seems only fitting that Jinan must pool its resources to ensure the greater success of its springs.

owenfishwick@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 09/20/2019 page12)

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