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Tongren, the 'City of Matcha', works to boost international visibility

Updated: Mar 26, 2024 By Zheng Jinran and Yang Jun chinadaily.com.cn Print
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Guizhou province's Tongren is known as the "City of Matcha". Its mayor, Mu Rongkun, said the city plans to organize more international forums related to its famous Fanjing Mountain and sports events and diversify its matcha products, which are the newest efforts amid its comprehensive measures to attract overseas tourists.

"We will explore our potential in ecological resources, especially making good use of Fanjing Mountain's fame, to host international forums and events on ecology and biodiversity to enhance its international visibility," said Mu in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

More sporting events, like the Fanjing Mountain Marathon and road cycling race, are expected to develop into international events, he said, adding that the spring marathon is scheduled for March 31.

Fanjing Mountain is part of the Wuling Mountain range and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. It is home to a conservation area, a nature reserve and several Buddhist temples. The area has been considered sacred for centuries.

Based on the city's rich natural and cultural resources, tourism has grown into a pillar industry and rebounded last year.

In 2023, tourist visits and revenue increased to 109.5 percent and 114.6 percent of the pre-COVID-19 numbers in 2019, respectively, indicating a full recovery of the city's tourism.

Tongren also has initiated more measures to provide specialty products to allure foreign guests amid efforts to contribute to Guizhou's ambition to become a world-class tourist destination, Mu said.

Netizens have dubbed Tongren as the global super factory for matcha. Its products, such as matcha powder, have been sold to over 40 foreign countries and regions, with sales exceeding 1,000 metric tons in 2023, according to Mu.

"We will upgrade the production of biological tea gardens for matcha, especially those in the core region around Fanjing Mountain, making the city a major primary raw material base for matcha in China," he said.

He added that Tongren will extend the industrial chain to provide diversified matcha products, such as drinks, chocolates, noodles and facial masks, to increase the industry's added value.

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