With beautiful natural landscapes and numerous historical and cultural relics, Shangdong has rich tourist resources. It offers a string of tourist attractions, such as Mount Taishan and the Temple, Mansion and Cemetery of Confucius, two World Heritage sites; Lingzi, capital of the ancient Qi State; Penglai, the well known "fairyland on earth"; Mount Laoshan, a sacred land of Taoism; Weifang, the "world capital of kites"; Qingdao, a charming coastal city famous for its annual International Beer Fair; Yantai, known worldwide as a wine producer; Rongcheng, a place considered as "the edge of the world" by ancient Chinese; Jinan, the provincial capital honored as "the city of springs"; and the site for watching the wonderful scene of the torrential Yellow River running into the sea.
Unique Tourism Resources
Over the past two decades or so, Shandong has repaired or built 510 scenic areas, including nine rated as Class 4A tourist areas, 16 as Class 3A, 26 as Class 2A, and 55 as Class A.
Qufu, the home of Confucius, with architectural complexes known as "the peak of Oriental culture", is well preserved and has been named by UNESCO as a "world cultural heritage".
Mount Tai, in the central part of Shandong Province, is well known for its intoxicating beauty and unique cultural content. UNESCO has included the mountain, also known as the "soul of the Chinese nation", into its list of World Heritage of Nature and Culture.
The Yellow River, often referred to as the Mother River of the Chinese Nation, cuts through Shandong for 610 km before emptying into the Bohai Sea. Visitors often marvel at the spectaculars scene where the Yellow River joins the sea.
Of the 12 "China's outstanding tourist cities" in Shandong, Jinan, the provincial capital, stands out. Known as the city of springs, it boasts such shining scenic spots as the Baotuquan Spring, Thousand-Buddha Mountain, Daming Lake and Lingyansi Temple.
Qingdao, a coastal city known worldwide, is also located in Shandong. As one of the major business coastal cities in China, it is where Tsingtao Beer is produced. European-style architecture and newly built State tourism vacation areas in the city all have unique charm.
Since ancient times, Penglai has been known as a "fairyland on earth", where mirages are often seen.
Other scenic wonders in urban areas are found in Yantai, the city of international grape wine, Zibo, the capital of the ancient State of Qi, and so forth.
Good Service Facilities
Tourism has grown into a major contributor to economic development in Shandong. In 2001, tourism income totaling 49.4 billion Yuan accounted for 5.24 percent of provincial GDP. At the end of 2001, there were 348 star-rated hotels, 1,050 tourist services, and 41 car/boat hire companies in the province. In addition, various tourist cities have built their own high-class hotels, supermarkets and recreational facilities creating a sound environment for receiving visitors.
The Shandong Tourism Information Website, http://www.sdta.gov.cn, is the largest government sponsored tourism website in terms of content in the country.
With a view to guaranteeing service quality, each city has set up a Tourism Quality Office to supervise tourist activities and settle any problems encountered by visitors.
Colorful Tourist Items
Shandong offers over 30 tourist items created on the basis of the rich local tourism resources. They include study, folklore and calligraphy tours, which are all well received by tourists.
In addition, the province organizes tourism-oriented festivals or celebrations, such as the Weifang International Kite Festival in Weifang in April, the Tsingdao Beer Festival in Qingdao in July, the Mount Tai Climbing Festival in Tai'an in September, and the International Confucian Culture Festival in Qufu in September.
Tasty Catering Culture
Ever since ancient times, Shandong has been known as the "hometown of culinary art". Lucai (Shandong) dishes constitute one of the four most famous culinary traditions in China alongside Suzhou, Sichuan and Guangdong cuisine.
Throughout the ages, master chefs in Shandong have developed their own cooking skills featuring use of different seasonings to create different tastes and preserve the original taste of the materials used.
Lucai dishes have branched out into different local flavors. They include both unique to the Jinan area, which is held to be the typical flavor of Shandong dishes; Jiaodong seafood that originated in Fushan but is not much favored in Yantai and Qingdao; river (lake) food unique to the Jining area; and Confucian dishes prepared in accordance with those much favored by the ancient Confucian family.