China tops world in number of global geoparks
China has 39 global geological parks, accounting for 26.5 percent of the world's total, the People's Daily reported Wednesday.
A total of 213 national geological parks and 343 provincial-level ones have also been established around the country, said the paper, citing statistics from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
Since China launched a campaign to set up geological parks in 2000, more than 600 have sprung up nationwide, making China rank top in the number and growth of geological parks in the world for years, according to the paper.
Featuring non-renewable geological relic resources, geological parks have been put high on the agenda by the Chinese government in promoting ecological advancement and protection.
According to the NFGA, the central government has channeled more than 3.4 billion yuan (about US$492 million) to geological relics conservation since 2002.
During the same period, financial support from local governments at various levels and the public totaled about 4.3 billion yuan and 33.8 billion yuan, respectively.
Booming geological parks have become a popular tourist destination, according to the paper. NFGA statistics showed that national geological parks in China received close to 500 million visits in 2017, compared with 142 million in 2010.
Meanwhile, geopark tourism has created 464,100 jobs, read the paper, adding that it has also played a positive role in poverty relief in recent years.
Two geological parks in eastern China's Anhui and Shandong provinces were newly listed into the Global Geoparks Network by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in April.