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September 3, 2010

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Songjiang hard at work to attract more tourists

SONGJIANG District is at work clearing up its 1,900-plus inland rivers and building tourist facilities alongside, government officials announced yesterday.

The district government also plans to increase the number of free tourist bikes at the Sheshan Hill resort from 1,000 to 3,000 by the end of this year.

"Sightseeing of creeks and hills is a perfect match," said Lou Jianyuan, deputy director of the Songjiang Commerce and Tourism Commission.

The Songjiang government is building docks and upgrading the landscape of the rivers, which will be connected to the district's major tourist sites, including Sheshan Hill, the old town and the Guangfulin archeological site, which will be partly open to the public as early as next year to showcase the city's early history from about 4,000 years ago, officials said.

Meanwhile, the government said a five-star hotel that will be largely below ground in a resort area at Sheshan Hill is expected to finish construction and be open in 2013.

The completion date had been postponed because the 21-story hotel, built in an abandoned quarry pit filled with water, is the first in the country and had to overcome many unprecedented technical difficulties, including structural and emergency-evacuation procedures.

"We had finished the fireproof and anti-quake designs and are waiting for the country's approval," Lou said. Songjiang District government officials issued the details at a meeting about its district tourism and shopping festival which will be held from September 18 to October 16.

Visitors will be invited to visit a tea yard at Shenshan Hill during the festival.

"The tea yard with an annual production capacity of 400 kilograms is the only one in the city," Lou said.

"We've tried to grow some in the nearby Tianma Hill for years but failed," Lou added.

The renowned local tea named "Lan Cha" dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Meanwhile, a total of 120,000 sunflowers have gone on display in the Chenshan Botanical Garden.


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