The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan Province has opened an observation site to monitor local environmental protection and social, cultural, economic and tourism development.
The site was inaugurated on July 14 under United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) auspices, as part of the Global Observatory on Sustainable Tourism (GOST) program. Luigi Cabrini, director of UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Development, signed the site’s book with the words, “I hope Zhangjiajie will become a most famous destination in the world, for its beauty and also for the new observatory, inaugurated today.” The observatory will collect data for use in scientific research on sustainable tourism development in the area.
The local government at Zhangjiajie submitted an application to UNWTO’s Asia-Pacific regional representative in November 2009, and proposed establishing an observatory in the city, to the UNWTO secretary-general, last July. “Zhangjiajie’s tourism authorities are well aware of the importance of their work to the local economy, and even more importantly, of the need to manage its growth,” said the secretary-general, Taleb Rifai. “The observatory is a vital tool for doing this, by providing tourism organizations with the information they need to move forward in a sustainable way.” The observatory will collect data for use in scientific research on sustainable tourism development in the area. The GOST program began in 2004 to help establish a network of multi-level observatories around the world.
This is a very important step forward for Zhangjiajie National Park. As China’s first national park, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it has seen tourism boom, stimulating economic growth, providing jobs and development opportunities for the locals. Zhangjiajie National Park receives up to 40,000 tourists a day during high season.The observatory will collect data for use in scientific research on sustainable tourism development in the area.