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Shanxi ready for e-tourism era

Updated: Dec 2,2015 8:00 PM

Taiyuan, Shanxi province has announced a new phone app, the “Yilule”, that started recently to give tourists the most accurate, up-to-date information on tourism in the area with just a touch of the phone screen, with 20 scenic spots taking part.

The Taiyuan tourism administration developed the site with the help of a tourism website as part of China’s larger “Internet Plus” effort and “smart city building”, which added Taiyuan to the list of smart pilot cities. In addition to tourist attractions, the app provides information on hotels, dining, transportation, and tourists can purchase tickets and get an audio tour guide and 3D street map of scenic spots, making them more convenient for both visitors and staff.

“Internet Plus” is the government’s way of connecting the Internet to traditional industries for economic growth, which was first broached by Premier Li Keqiang in a government report this past March and, according to Li Yongchong, head of the Shanxi Academy of Social Sciences tourism research center, “In the new era, the tourism industry should have an equal, interactive, sharing relationship with tourists, with the help of mobile and Internet platforms.”

Li Yongchong went on to say that this is an attempt to “respond to changing market patterns and trends”, then showed some research results which indicate that the average amount of time Chinese spend looking at their smartphone is 158 minutes per day, or much more than the global average of 117 minutes.

Two Chinese e-tourism giants — Qunar and Ctrip — recently published their financial report for the third quarter of this year, which showed their usage by mobile phone growing by leaps and bounds, with Qunar having an increase of 381 percent over that of the same quarter last year and Ctrip, 400 percent.

More tourist spots of the province are joining the project.