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District home to temples, beer

 

Lao Shan

Home to a renowned mountain resort in China's eastern coast and the venue of a renowned beer festival, Laoshan district in Qingdao, Shandong Province, is becoming an increasingly attractive tourist destination with international influence.

Located at the eastern end of Qingdao, the district is named after Mount Laoshan, the highest mountain on the coastline of the Chinese mainland, with a peak 1,132.7 meters above sea level.

The mountain is also closely related to Taoism, China's indigenous religion, and a number of well-preserved Taoist temples are located there.

Each year millions of tourists swarm to the mountain and its surrounding areas to experience Taoist culture firsthand.

Mount Laoshan is the only attraction in Qingdao recognized as a 5A tourist destination, the top grade given by the National Tourism Bureau.

In addition to the famed mountain, the district is also home to three 4A destinations - Qingdao Polar Ocean World, Chateau Huadong and Shilaoren Sightseeing Park. There are a dozen 3A tourist attractions and 17 hotels rated three stars or better.

The main venue of the well-known Qingdao International Beer Festival, Laoshan hosts a number of festivals and events that combine its resources and traditions with fun activities, including the Kutao Flower Fair, the Shazikou Mackerel Festival, the Wanggezhuang Laoshan Tea Festival and the Beizhai Cherry-Picking Festival.

Festival tourism has served as a significant driving force of the local economy.

The 22nd Qingdao International Beer Festival, which took place this August, attracted 3.96 million visitors, up 5.04 percent from last year. A total of 1,180 tons of beer was consumed in the three-week carnival, an increase of 80 tons from 2011.

The festival's impact on the local economy could also be seen in the robust growth of an array of supporting industries, such as catering, hotels, shopping and transportation.

Local officials consider it an economic boon that churns out even more profits than the total of the May Day and National Day holidays.

The beer festival has been rated by the International Festivals and Events Association as one of China's top 10 international festivals for six consecutive years.

Other events, such as the Beizhai Cherry-Picking Festival and Laoshan Tea Culture Festival, are growing in popularity among tourists.

Laoshan's new offer is the emerging countryside tour in its suburbs. Tourists from all over the country or even overseas have flocked into many of its surrounding villages to participate in harvests on the farmlands, to hike in the mountains, to fish, to pick fruits, vegetables and flowers, and to have a taste of the rustic foods served by farmers.