China Focus: China's cultural tourism embraces immersive-experience trend

Many industry experts said that immersive experience has become a new way to break the bottleneck in the development of the cultural tourism industry at this stage.

Fans of ancient culture have been flocking to a museum in east China's Jiangsu Province to learn about the history of bronzeware and ceramics, immersing themselves in the virtual world through AR and VR technologies.

The Suzhou Bay Digital Art Museum, located in the city of Suzhou, opened to the public half a year ago, and it has been busy ever since.

"It has recorded over 150,000 visitor arrivals during the period," said Wang Bin, who is in charge of the museum project and the general manager of Suzhou Chuangyi Cultural Technology Co., Ltd.

"We will work to create more diverse immersive spaces for more tourist attractions across the country," Wang said after participating in a parallel forum of the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum, which concluded Friday.

In August 2023, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a notice announcing the first national smart tourism immersive experience new space cultivation pilot list, with 24 cultural venues, leisure blocks, theme parks, industrial parks, and tourist attractions selected. The Suzhou Bay Digital Art Museum was included on the list.

During the parallel forum, themed "In-depth integration of culture and tourism," experts, scholars and insiders in the cultural tourism industry at home and abroad also gathered to explore a new form of smart tourism.

Many industry experts said that immersive experience has become a new way to break the bottleneck in the development of the cultural tourism industry at this stage. By combining characteristic real scenes and lighting, as well as technologies such as AR and VR, immersive experience can create a new kind of cultural tourism consumption scene.

Jin Yuanpu, a professor and dean of the cultural and creative industries studies center of Renmin University of China, said that based on digital technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence, China's cultural tourism industry has ushered in a large number of new forms, with immersive experience one of the typical forms.

Tourism featuring immersive experiences is also popular in Xi'an, a city with over 3,100 years of history, and served as the capital for 13 dynasties in Chinese history in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

At Huaqing Palace, one of the cultural landmarks in Xi'an, tourists can wear special costumes and have an immersive experience of a day in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

In the first half of this year, major enterprises in China's cultural sector and related businesses recorded nearly 5.94 trillion yuan (about 827 billion U.S. dollars) of revenue in total, an increase of 7.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Among the nine major categories in the sector, the cultural, entertainment and recreational enterprises, many of which are engaged in contact-based services, posted the strongest rebound.

According to Du Jiang, vice minister of culture and tourism, it is necessary to fully utilize science and technology to accelerate the cultivation and development of new products, new forms and new scenarios of digital cultural tourism.

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