SUZHOU, China, May 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Viewed throughout Chinese history as 'Heaven on Earth', Suzhou is fast making a name for itself on the travel itineraries of visitors to China.
Intrigued by the history of this ancient city and due in part to a series of promotional campaigns launched jointly by the BBC, Lonely Planet travel guides and Suzhou Municipal Tourism Administration, more people than ever are looking to experience Suzhou's classical charm.
On May 8, 2015, after taking part in one of the online promotions, Mrs Lynda Dawson and her husband were invited to travel from the UK to visit Suzhou as special guests of the city to celebrate their upcoming 43rd wedding anniversary.
The first night after they arrived, Mr and Mrs Dawson were welcomed by the Kunqu Opera Peony Pavilion. Although they had trouble understanding what exactly the actors were saying, the Dawsons were nonetheless treated to the audiovisual symphony of variable arias and traditional melodies that make the Kunqu Opera so special.
On the second day, they lost themselves in the tranquility and serenity of Suzhou's grand gardens before being invited to sample the fine craftsmanship on show at Suzhou Silk Museum, the city being the centuries-old centre of China's illustrious silk trade.
On the last day of the trip, the couple went to Zhouzhuang, a famous water town noted for its profound cultural background, well preserved ancient residential houses and elegant water views. Combined with the criss-crossing canals, grand lakes, tranquil rivers and classical conception temples of Suzhou, Mr and Mrs Dawson truly had the opportunity to admire the best this picturesque region has to offer, likening the trip to a second honeymoon and vowing to return one day in the future.
According to Suzhou Municipal Bureau of Statistics, in 2014 the city's total number of overnight tourists was 1,453,300, an increase of 0.8% over the previous year. Foreign exchange profit was RMB 1.705 billion, up 6.4% on the previous year, signalling a growth rate of 8.1% and 11.1% respectively, with the number of overnight tourists and foreign exchange profits accounting for 48.9% and 56.2% respectively in the whole of Jiangsu province and visitors to Suzhou accounting for nearly half of the province as a whole.
SOURCE Suzhou Municipal Tourism Administration