Sichuan to Open Quake Relics to Tourists
Officials in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, where the massive Wenchuan earthquake left more than 87,000 people dead or missing and more than 374,640 injured last year, said Saturday they will open some quake relics to tourists.
“There is a huge tourism market in the ruins one year after the quake. Lots of people have been coming to visit the quake zone, especially during the Spring Festival, the Tomb-sweeping Festival and the May Day holiday,” said Wu Mian, deputy director of Sichuan Provincial Tourism Department, said in an interview with Xinhua Saturday.
“We cannot block the tourists out,” he said. “We also hope the tourists watch their behaviors and not hurt the quake survivors’ feelings.”
The first relics to open include the devastated tourist sites, schools, bridges, factories and streets in cities of Dujiangyan, Pengzhou, Mianzhu and Guangyuan as well as Yingxiu Township in Wenchuan County, the epicenter, he said.
Yao Minji of Shanghai Daily shares her thoughts on quake tourism:
All of Beichuan County in the epicenter is expected to become an “earthquake museum,” and there won’t be much renovation or building outside the town because the ground is so unstable.
Another large bricks-and-mortar museum, a private one, opened on May 11 at 2:28pm in Dayi County, an hour’s drive from Chengdu. It was built in Anren Town by Sichuan native Fan Jianchuan, whose specialty is museums of all kinds, from antique furniture to memorabilia of soldiers.
The earthquake museum is his 20th and latest. It’s the only one of his museums that is free. It can handle around 2,000 visitors a day, and by 9am on May 11 all 2,000 tickets had been claimed.
The idea of the museum is to present a visual diary of the earthquake covering one month from May 12 to June 12.
It’s effective and shocking.
Read Chang Ping’s view on earthquake tourism at the CDT post “Bloggers’ Reactions to the 5.12 Earthquake’s First Anniversary.”