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Journeys of discovery

By YANG FEIYUE| China Daily| Updated: June 11, 2024 L M S

Yang Jie, who's from Shanxi's capital, Taiyuan, loves architecture so much that he quit his job and launched his own educational tour business focusing on ancient Chinese architectural history and culture in 2017.

"As the level of public education has improved, people's affinity for culture has also grown stronger," Yang says.

His business took off immediately. He believes he owes this to the national strategy of developing cultural prowess.

"This has led to many people visiting major museums and developing cultural pride. A lot of people are now paying attention to traditional aesthetics, with ancient architecture being a big attraction," Yang says.

His company now serves nearly 5,000 visitors a year.

"Over 30 percent of the tourists are younger than 30," he says.

"It's evident that an increasing number of young people are interested in ancient architecture, and there is also a surging demand for professional explanations."

Yang and his team have offered tours at thousands of ancient structures nationwide.

"They are all key national cultural relics under protection. Some are known for their unique characteristics, and some are associated with historical figures," Yang says.

"We have studied their histories and features, and sorted them chronologically, which has been a huge amount of work."

A professional team offers travelers detailed explanations of murals and painted sculptures.

And such on-site activities as recitations of ancient poems depicting the architecture in question will be staged for visitors.

"We have also prepared models and teaching tools to engage our customers in discovering the ingenious touch behind the design and construction of those ancient buildings," Yang says.

He has prepared 16 historical architecture-study routes for the Dragon Boat Festival. Bookings for these were brisk.

Corporate data provider Qichacha reports that about 1,000 new educational tour-related enterprises were registered in the first four months of 2024. There are currently 35,600 related enterprises in China, the tracker reports.

According to a 2023 report on China's educational tours by the Guangdong province-based market consultancy iiMedia Research, the sector exceeded 90 billion yuan ($12.4 billion) in China in 2022.

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