Pingtan island's value as a tourism hot spot has gained rapid momentum since the establishment of the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone in 2014. In the span of a few years, it has become a Free Trade Zone and an International Tourist Destination designated by China.
General Secretary Xi Jinping's visit to Pingtan in November 2014 ignited the island's potential growth when he highlighted the need to build Pingtan as an international tourism island.
Pingtan has participated in various pilot trials to develop tourism, which has made Pingtan famous. Annual inbound visitors to Pingtan has increased from 537,200 in 2010 to 2,895,000 in 2016 and 3,868,100 in the first half of 2021. These high numbers have risen alongside the brand status of the destination. With the leading concept of "modern and pristine development", Pingtan's tourism brand – "Pingtan Blue" has been well received.
Infrastructure upgrades have led to transformations
The Pingtan Southern Bay Resort with its tree-lined roads; mobile food trucks and commercial houses decorate the landscape in what used to be a locale that is off the beaten track.
Due to the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, areas have been similarly transformed with a "high-quality building and low-intensity developing" approach. Scenic spots now abound with the likes of the Tannan Bay, Xianrenjing, General Mountain, Shipaiyang, and so on.
Ecological parking lots, public toilets, viewing platforms, and other supporting facilities have also been built. In addition, the sightseeing train, art station, music dining bar, and other special creative products complement the tourist appeal of these venues.
In addition, the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone also actively promotes the integration of culture and tourism by introducing cultural and artistic activities from Taiwan. For example, the Cou ( also known as Tsou, an ethnic minority in Taiwan) Troupe from Mount Ali stationed in Tianmeiao Beach, and the Wind-blowing Artist Festival have brought new cultural hotspots to Pingtan' s tourism.
The natural beauty of Pingtan's coastline is also a highlight. Ecological corridors built between the mountains and the sea have enhanced their scenic value and ecological importance.
According to Weng Bin, deputy head of Tourism, Culture and Sports Bureau of Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, the ecological corridors comprises zones in the south, north, east, and west, with a total length of 195 km. It connects more than 90 villages, serving to revitalise the countryside and to meet tourist demands for local and ecological experiences. Pingtan also offers a range of tours in maritime discovery and rural exploration to boost tourism offerings.