Insiders call for efforts to transform former industrial sites into new attractions

Updated: Feb 8, 2024 By Xu Fan chinadaily.com.cn Print
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A forum was held during the 2023 Industrial Culture Development Conference to discuss the prospects of industrial heritage turning into tourist attractions. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

With more abandoned factories or former industrial bases turning into new tourist attractions, the research of industrial culture is gaining momentum, according to some insiders during the 2023 Industrial Culture Development Conference held in Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

A series of cultural events or projects has been launched to promote China's industrial culture, with such cases including an originally created nonprofit song contest and a feature-length movie about Chinese-made aircraft, said Sun Xing, deputy director of the Industrial Culture Development Center at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Since 2017, the ministry has announced 194 items on the country's national industrial heritage list in five batches, with Sichuan province securing 19 items to claim the top slot, followed by Shandong province in second place, and Liaoning and Jiangxi provinces sharing the third position.

Incomplete statistics show that the country has more than 700 museums about industrial heritages or themes, but most of them — operated by corporations — have limited space, a modest collection amount, and struggle for smooth operation, said Sun.

Wang Qin, a researcher at the Sichuan Provincial Economic and Information Department, highlighted some former industrial sites that have become new tourist attractions in Chengdu, though the city is most famous for giant pandas and ancient relics to remember Du Fu, a famous Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet, and Zhuge Liang, a strategist during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280).

These new attractions include Chengdu East Suburban Memory Park, a former site that once housed over 200 electronic and mechanical companies, and Chengdu Shuijingfang Museum, which was established to display the archaeological discovery of relics from an ancient wine workshop estimated to date back around 600 years ago.

During the conference, an initiative to develop industrial museums was also released, emphasizing the need to establish a comprehensive industrial museum system comprising national-level and regional-level museums, as well as other related venues.

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