WENCHANG, CHINA – Media OutReach Newswire – 9 February 2024 – On January 17th 2024, the Long March-7 Y8, carrying the Tianzhou-7 cargo spacecraft, was successfully launched. An increasing number of “space fans” are coming to Wenchang, Hainan Province, the site of China’s youngest spaceport, to see the rockets, and the city’s space-themed tourism is becoming more and more popular. The 2,100-year-old town in the northeastern part of Hainan Island is becoming “China’s version of Cape Canaveral”.
In recent years, Wenchang has been actively exploring the “aerospace +” model to develop tourism. Facilities such as seaside B&Bs and local featured farmhouses have been built in response to the trend, and an aerospace tourism town is now taking shape. When rocket launches and tropical island scenery perfectly combine, the former hometown of overseas Chinese has undergone tremendous changes- transforming into a well-known destination of aerospace coastal tourism in China.
Wenchang has attracted many young photographers to “chase rockets” whenever there is a launch. In their opinion, this is the closest that ordinary people can get to space. “No matter how many times I watch a rocket launch, I’m always deeply moved to tears” said space photographer and sophomore at Northwest Minzu University Tang Muzhi. He added that he hoped his photos would attract more people’s attention and love to space.
Zhang Zuoxing, also a photography enthusiast, wanted to share this mind-blowing experience to more people and set up “Walking at 20”, a youth travel organization, after graduating from university in 2020 with his friends. They aim at providing immersive trips and social opportunities for young people. The “Wenchang Rocket Chasing Tour” has become the company’s best product. Watching rockets in the gentle sea breeze has become a must experience for many tourists in Wenchang.
According to Ye Sheng, in charge of Longlou Town, Wencheng, which has a population of only 27,000, it transpires that they have received more than 1.5 million tourists in the past two years because of the aerospace industry. Over 9,000 jobs have been created, and the aerospace tourism industry has achieved an increase in annual income of 15 percent. Local people have benefited greatly as more and more aerospace-themed cultural and tourism activities are being held there. Their door to the outside world has been truly opened, bringing in new knowledge and understandings.
“During important holidays and launches, we are always fully booked.” said You Zhuo, who runs the Wenchang Ruoyuan Yuanshe B&B. Take an example of the launch of the “Wentian” laboratory cabin module in July 2022, this single event brought more than 200,000 tourists to Longlou Town, creating a boom in demand for hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, and other related services. Some hotels even achieved record revenues of more than one million yuan in a single day.
Thanks to the aerospace industry, a very distinctive tourism sector has been developing in full swing, supporting the businesses of local B&Bs, farmhouse stays, leisure fisheries, sightseeing industries, science tours, and other touristic offers. At the same time, aerospace communities, aerospace schools, aerospace markets, and other supporting facilities have been gradually improved as well.
Rocket launches have not only brought a “tourism craze” to Wenchang and improved the living standards of local residents, but also driven the transformation of the city’s industrial system.
As China’s only commercial space launch site, Hainan commercial launch site is the major infrastructure project of Wenchang International Aerospace City, which will be able to launch regularly in 2024. So far, public platforms for aerospace science and innovation, such as the satellite assembly and testing plant, rocket assembly plant, and aerospace supercomputing center, have been completed and gradually put into use.
Liu Chong, Mayor of Wenchang, said that Wenchang will gradually form its industrial advantage based on the commercial aerospace industry, accelerate the construction of the industrial system of “three chains” (rocket chain, satellite chain, and data chain) and the “aerospace +”, while continuing to drive the transformation and upgrading of the traditional advantageous industries such as Wenchang chicken, coconuts, and fishery.
It is foreseeable that the “aerospace craze” based on the “aerospace effect” will drive more industries to gather and grow in Wenchang, and China’s commercial aerospace industry will usher in a brilliant new chapter in the future.
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