Chinese sightseers flock to Tianshui as spicy hot pot goes viral

2024-03-18 09:03:50Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Tianshui spicy hot pot, based in Northwest China's Gansu Province, has been trending on China's social media recently, attracting troves of tourists for this delicious and mouth-watering delicacy.

Driven by social media buzz and local marketing promotions, tourists and foodies alike have flocked to Tianshui.

Searches for travel to the medium-size city Tianshui have surged. Data from Chinese travel giant, Tongcheng Travel, revealed that, as of Thursday, searches for travel to the city surged by 186 percent during last week, which have kept on growing up. Bookings in Tianshui for hotels and attractions were up 40 percent year-over-year during the past month, another online tourism site reported on Tuesday.

Related topics about Gansu Tianshui spicy hot pot have also appeared on Sina Weibo's trending list, garnering at least more than 94 million views as of press time on Sunday.

The Gansu-style spicy hot pot, with features fragrant splashed chili oil and distinctive and wide noodles, has recently been popular, attracting foodies from all over China. It is a tongue-numbing spicy dish loved for its satisfying flavor and the richness of colors.

Different from Sichuan cuisine, another place in Southwest China famous for its hot pot, the secrets for tickling the taste buds come from local specialty ingredients in Tianshui - Maiji peppercorns and Gangu chili peppers. Both belong to local specialty agricultural industries.

"I never thought that Tianshui would one day become an 'online celebrity' in the catering and tourism industry for the spicy hot pot, considering the city was once known as an important route of the ancient 'Silk Road' and blessed with a rich history, cultural heritage destination in northwestern China," Wang Kaixuan, a 23-year-old University student from Tianshui told the Global Times on Sunday.

While some say Tianshui's hot pot sensation is aimed at emulating the success of Harbin in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and Zibo in East China's Shandong Province, two phenomenal travel hits thanks to social media promotion, hospitality of local people and the high level of services provided to vast tourists.

Wang said he plans to invite his friends to come for a visit to Tianshui and enjoy the local hot pot during the Qingming Festival in April. "I definitely hope my hometown to become the next Harbin, as my city is well prepared and is grasping the chance and welcoming tourists with sincerity and well-equipped facilities."

Domestic tourists made nearly 4.9 billion trips in 2023, with total tourism expenditure approaching 5 trillion yuan, Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Institute told the Global Times on Sunday. "With such a tourism boom in domestic market, we have every reason to believe that in 2024, more internet celebrity tourism spots will emerge in China. And with favorable policy support from the authorities, China will see more robust recovery, and vigorous growth in cultural, tourism industries as well, Zhang noted.

Nowadays, a Tianshui spicy hot pot restaurant is a must-go visit in the city. To better allow tourist enjoyment of the delicious food, the local government not only provides special bus commute but also prepares agricultural specialties, boutique cultural tourism routes, and exquisite local products, allowing tourists to experience the charm of local culture while savoring the delicacies.

Meanwhile, local tourism authorities are capitalizing on the city's newfound fame to stimulate the local economy. Starting from Saturday, the local authorities launched a food festival to showcase a variety of Tianshui cuisine. The week-long event is expected to attract dozens of local businesses and hundreds and thousands of tourists from all over the country to join in the spicy hot pot "carnival".

The popularity of Tianshui's spicy hot pot has had a significant impact on local cultural tourism, consumption and boosted local service sector growth.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Tianshui spicy hot pot fuels stock market surge as well. On Friday, shares related to spicy hot pot, such as Junsun Fungi Co and Yatai Holding Group Co surged. Other food companies' stocks, including Lanzhou Huanghe Enterprise Co and Lanzhou Zhuangyuan Pasture Co have also made gains.

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