OUTLINE The project aims to devise, test and implement a transferable methodology to improve a degraded urban waterfront at Wuzhishan City, Hainan Province, Peoples Republic of China, using tourism as a catalyst for regeneration. The methodology will produce an action plan (Urban Tourism Action Plan) which can be replicated in other urban areas, notably those in Provincia di Avellino and Cheshire where similar actions may be considered. Overall target groups are the inhabitants of Wuzhishan City and its environs (population 107,000), located in the mountain interior of Hainan where a large proportion (65%) are disadvantaged minorities (Li and Miao), and, specifically, the residents of the Nanshan River waterfront. Lack of investment and increased unemployment are major problems in the town as tourists have moved to the coastal areas. The three main activities are: to upgrade the environment of the Wuzhishan City waterfront; stimulate urban tourism based on the city’s cultural heritage; establish and test a consultation and implementation framework for the five year plan

THE BACKGROUND EUTOU is aimed at bringing important socio economic improvements to Wuzhishan City, a city located in the interior of Hainan Province where incomes are below provincial average due partly to the presence of economically under-privileged groups (notably the Li and Miao ethnic people). Socio economic problems in the city and surrounding area have not only resulted from declines in traditional economic sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing but also by a decline in tourism, one of Hainan’s major economic sectors as the province is China’s premier holiday destination. The decline in tourism results from the opening up of new coastal resorts (notably at Sanya and Boao), now connected to international airports by a new coastal motorway that has diverted tourist flows away from the mountainous interior. The result has been considerable out-migration to the coastal areas from Wuzhishan City and a serious decline in investment, with hotels and tourism attractions closing (notably the Chinese National Cultural Village theme park). Such problems, recently worsened by the recent SARS crisis affecting tourism in China, have been recognised by HPTA as well as the local municipal Government of Wuzhishan City. HPTA, under the direction of a High Level Council for the Promotion of Tourism Development, is responsible for all aspects of tourism at provincial level and at local level through its county divisions. Its work includes planning, marketing, the collection and analysis of statistics, manpower development and the supervision and management of the sector. Importantly, HPTA’s Planning Division is responsible for overseeing the Tourism Master Plan for Hainan Province and for guiding and planning the distribution of tourism development in local areas, notably Wuzhishan City which has been designated as a priority planning area for regenerating tourism and the area’s socio-economic decline. The Administration is responsible for advising and preparing tourism development plans at city and county level.

ACTORS HPTA’s staff, which includes English speakers, has experience of tourism planning as well as town planning, architecture, management, finance, business and administration. Its skills are complemented by the Hainan Tourism Development Planning Academy. HPTA has already taken administrative and political steps to improve the socio-economic situation of Wuzhishan City. The 2002 Tourism Master Plan for Hainan Province designated Wuzhishan City a centre for cultural tourism (related to the minority Li people) and a base from where to explore the surrounding countryside (forests and famous national landmarks such as Wuzhi Mountain). A new road to Sanya, recently completed, now allows tourists to reach Wuzhishan City from the coast in about an hour. Notwithstanding there is considerable need for urban improvements to make the city a more attractive place for tourists, and to avoid its future by-passing by visitors. As reported in the Tourism Master Plan for Hainan Province, the city lacks local distinctiveness and its potential, including the Nanshan River and its status as the historical centre of the Li people, are poorly exploited. Unlike famous cultural cities in China where old urban areas need conservation and restoration, the challenge in Wuzhishan City is more to create a sense of place and interest in a relatively modern but degraded urban environment (common to many Chinese cities). The famous Nanshan River can be a key catalyst for this Works funded by the National Government have now begun to improve the flow of the river (currently intermittent). To complement this, funding for upgrading the waterfront and involving local people and actors to promote cultural tourism, is urgently required.

THE START Politically EUTOU is supported in China by the 10th Five-Year Plan for Provincial Tourism in Hainan. This outlines long term goals for tourism development in the Province to 2010, including improving the quality and variety of tourism and related destinations (notably promoting urban and cultural tourism). Improving the socio economic conditions for ethnic peoples and fostering poverty alleviation is also a key policy of both national and provincial plans, including the current 10th Five Year Plan for Social and Economic Development of Hainan Province (to 2005). An important initiative already undertaken by the EUTOU partnership has been the visit to Hainan by a delegation from the Provincia di Avellino in March 2003. This included technical meetings with HPTA, local press conferences on the EUTOU initiative, and site visits to Wuzhishan City to discuss the technical feasibility of the project as well as a consultation meeting with the Wuzhishan City Municipal Government. The visit culminated in a meeting between the two Governors of the respective provinces in Haikou. An agreement of co-operation was signed by the two governors at the meeting. The project will complement a development project currently being carried out by the National Government to improve the water flow of the Nanshan River. This hydrological project, which includes damming some sections of the river upstream will be completed in 2004/2005 but will not involve any urban regeneration of the waterfront.

 THE AIMS Based on above background and results, EUTOU was in charge to upgrade the urban waterfront of the city centre to create a conducive environment for tourism (both in terms of physical planning and in creating institutional structures to allow various actors and the community to plan tourism activities on the waterfront). This will be achieved through the UTAP. There are no other planned projects on the regeneration of the waterfront or the city from other donors and as such EUTOU’s action will not duplicate any other studies or projects. However, it is expected that funding from the National Government can be secured for the implementation of the UTAP as there is a commitment at national and provincial government to focus aid on underprivileged ethnic minorities of which the Wuzhishan area is identified as a priority project (already ecotourism projects outside thetown have been financed and completed (visited by the Provincia di Avellino delegation) and HPTA are confident that the UTAP will be funded once EUTOU has been completed. The European partner regions of Avellino and Cheshire also have experience of problems faced in Hainan. The Province of Avellino lives in the shadow of the Neapolitan and Amalfi coasts. A concentration of tourist and commercial jobs in the latter has led to out-migration from the interior Campania region where incomes are lower and employment scarce. This has been coupled by a failure to attract tourism in the province’s towns, which are isolated from the coastal areas despite good cultural tourism opportunities. The Provincia di Avellino is the provincial authority responsible for tourism development, urban and strategic planning and economic development. It has recently completed a strategic regional tourism plan for the province under the RECITE II programme’s ECOSERT project (see below). The Provincia has also created a network of local and national authorities on river management and set up training projects with the National Rivers Authority to disseminate technical knowledge leading to the training and management of the Sabato River. Meanwhile in parts of Cheshire in North West England there is recognition of the potential for deflecting tourism and recreational activities away from honey pot areas and creating a more balanced tourist and recreational flow to assist in the regeneration of urban (and rural) areas that have particular economic and environmental problems. The potential for improved recreational and environmental management in areas accessible to areas of population concentration has encouraged the concept of a Regional Park in the Weaver Valley to enhance recreational and economic activity. Cheshire County Council is the strategic planning authority for Cheshire and is responsible for preparing sub-regional socioeconomic plans and policies as well as a county structure plan. The county authority has various departments including those related to town planning, which will be actively involved in EUTOU. The authority also oversaw a strategic regional tourism plan for parts of Cheshire which was co-funded by the European Commission.

THE ACTIONS EUTOU is based on the premise that tourism can form a catalyst for urban regeneration such as environmental improvements, employment generation and stimulation of the local economy. Its relevance to both Cheshire and Avellino is linked to a recent project carried out under the European Commission’s RECITE II programme, namely the European CO-operation to achieve Sustainable Environmental Regional development through Tourism (ECOSERT) in which both European partners participated; Provincia di Avellino as a full partner and Cheshire County Council as an Associate Partner. ECOSERT proposed a method and sub-regional strategy (in the form of Regional Environmental Sustainable Tourism Plan) to plan tourism spatially and redirect tourism flows to the more deprived areas of Avellino Province and Cheshire. As such EUTOU can help both European partners realise the strategic policies of ECOSERT by developing greater knowledge of waterfront regeneration and applying the concept of UTAP to future urban projects. EUTOU can also benefit from the overall local political support given to the ECOSERT strategies in both regions. Tourism comprises the main economic opportunity for Wuzhishan City. Yet despite a strong increase in tourism in Hainan over recent years (from 4.85 million tourist arrivals in 1996 to more than 10 million in 2000), the number of recorded visitors in Wuzhishan City over the corresponding period has decreased from 270,000 to 220,000, with the international component decreasing even more significantly from 30,000 to 5,000. Unemployment in Wuzhishan City is now at 8%, well above the provincial average of 3%. Constraints in the city concern the dilapidation of both existing tourism products (like the Chinese National Cultural Village and the Hainan National Museum of Wuzhishan) and a poor quality urban environment with little local distinctiveness to attract tourists. As the capital of the Li people, and given the Li’s unique history (extending up to World War II), their exotic traditional dress, language and distinctive handicraft (notably weaving and silver-smith work), the city can become an important landmark for Chinese and international tourists. There is a clear need to improve existing products in the urban area, making use of its best assets, the attractive setting of the Nanshan River. As recognised by the Tourism Development Master Plan for Hainan Province, this setting could be a focus for cultural heritage attractions and help promote Wuzhishan City as a base from which tourists can explore the surrounding countryside, including distinctive Li and Miao villages. The area of the Nanshan River to be covered by the UTAP is in the town centre of Wuzhishan City, on both sides of the river bank and on either side of the main bridge of the town. The plan is envisaged to cover an overall riverside length of some 1 km (to be confirmed by the baseline appraisal) although an area of more intense tourism activities will likely be assigned (for example on a specific concentrated area such as a tourism square). The extent of the planned area will depend on the Baseline Review (Stage 2) of EUTOU and possibly Stage 3, (Assessment of Best Practice) which will allow a more comprehensive review of constraints and opportunities (for example on land use, cadastral matters etc). Unlike the two largest cities in Hainan, Haikou (the provincial capital) and Sanya (the premier seaside resort),Wuzhishan City is in social and economic decline. The improvement of its environment, to make it attractive for tourists to visit and stay, will provide help where it is most needed (i.e. where poverty is most acute and under-privileged groups most concentrated). The targeting towards ethnic minorities is also relevant to current Government policies to improve their living standards. Whereas a policy of modernisation for minorities has been carried out, including a re-housing programme in urban areas (so that they may benefit from modern education and health services), a key issue in Hainan has been the discrepancies in wealth arising between Han Chinese and ethnic peoples, especially those who have failed to integrate successfully in the urban areas. Urban regeneration through tourism, and in particular cultural tourism based on Li and Miao heritage, local skills and handicrafts, could optimise an important (but as yet dormant), potential for the ethnic minorities. As well as the overall benefits to the population and the unemployed of Wuzhishan City, it is anticipated that existing hoteliers (there are currently 11 hotels) will benefit from the increased tourism activities planned in the town. Hotels have experienced declines in room occupancy and are an important source of employment.

THE FUTURE The new activities planned at the waterfront will also improve the feasibility for introducing new hotels (and hence jobs) in the town. Similarly small to medium sized enterprises can also be supported given their role in sustaining employment, and increased tourism flows and activities will hopefully create a multiplier effect in demand for local goods and services. Local cultural groups exhibiting Li culture are important to be targeted, as authentic displays of ethnic culture are declining, as fewer tourists visit the interior and young people migrate for jobs to the more prosperous coastal areas. They are also considered a key tourist attraction to promote especially for those higher spending tourists who will seek authentic as opposed to imitation displays of Li culture. In this respect the Hainan National Museum of Wuzhishan will also be a target beneficiary. Finally Government officials are selected as target groups as they will be responsible for implementing the UTAP and recommendations for EUTOU in the longer term as well as initiating similar projects elsewhere in the province. As tourism is the main economic sector in the region, urban improvements based on tourism (directly through planning new tourism products and indirectly through improving the appearance and living quality of the town) are relevant to all identified actors and beneficiaries. Good urban and tourism planning of the waterfront is seen as a catalyst to help small to medium enterprises (such as hoteliers etc) to develop the tourism infrastructure necessary to help stimulate economic growth and alleviate unemployment and poverty. At present such enterprises lack the physical infrastructure, suitably attractive setting and organisational structures to prosper in the city. Improvement of the waterfront’s environment will be the most visible form of tourism regeneration in Wuzhishan City, helping make the city a tourism gateway for the surrounding areas. This will also benefit rural dwellers outside the city, providing opportunity for these to sell local produce to hotels and restaurants in the town and to receive tourists as part of day tours. The European experience in regenerating and managing quality waterfronts for tourism purposes should bring important expertise to the target groups in that a quality development, unique in Hainan, could be created (contrasting with many previous initiatives that are poorly planned and unremarkable to international tourists). EUTOU will be a catalyst to bring all the above target groups together to plan a worthwhile development on the waterfront to attract tourism back to Wuzhishan City. This will require the co-operation and support of the local community (as through consultation events), actors involved in tourism such as hoteliers, SMEs and the cultural groups who if made aware and allowed to contribute to the UTAP will be motivated to provide good quality tourism attractions and services to complement the on-the-ground- actions of the UTAP. The government planners and administrators are very essential in any such innovative planning initiatives in China and must be the main co-ordinating body for UTAP (e.g. organising the various co-ordination events and disseminating information). The HTPA is especially important as it is the main implementing body for such developments in the Province. As such their relevance is paramount to the successful implementation of the UTAP.

A REPLICABLE EXAMPLE The Government officials will gain experience and guidance in aspects that are especially strong in Europe, and lacking in Wuzhishan City and Hainan in particular, namely: • Urban design and land use planning (e.g. land use surveys, principles for sense of place, appropriate landscaping to attract western tourists) • Marketing and promotion of tourism activities in an urban context (for example organising promotion events and making best use of cultural assets) • Environmental Upgrading of Urban Areas (how urban areas can use tourism to upgrade an environment) • Institutional planning: how to organise various actors and beneficiaries to co-ordinate their activities and form stakeholder arrangements etc, using the waterfront environment as a catalyst • Tourism planning: how European countries have successfully attracted new forms of tourism (notably cultural tourism) that can be promoted to make Wuzhishan City more interesting and help regenerate tourism visits in the town and how to organise work in assessing and promoting the strength of local tourist attractions (such as the Hainan National Museum of Wuzhishan).



• the UTAP
• infrastructure upgrade .
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