Yanbian hosts Vatternrundan China International Bicycling Tourism Festival

China.org.cn, 10 10, 2017
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Low carbon, environmental protection, joy and fitness are the key words of the 2017 Vatternrundan China International Bicycling Tourism Festival that kicked off in Yanbian, Jilin Province on September 24.

Wang Ku, Deputy Director of Jilin Provincial Tourism Development Commission, attended the opening ceremony and fired the starter pistol.

Themed“Enjoy bicycling along China’s most beautiful border line,”the festival has attracted 74 foreign athletes from17 countries and regions in Europe and America to join local bicycling enthusiasts.

Altogether 800 people took part in the three categories of the race: the race around Maoer Mountain, the race around Yanlongtu Cultural Tourism New Area and the race for children.

“My primary purpose of bicycling is to keep fit. Besides, it is environmental-friendly,” Wu Xiaotao, a participant from Longjing City, said. He has took part in the event for three years in a row.

According to him, there are a lot of bicycling lovers in Yanbian, so the festival is a platform for those people to exchange and learn from each other. In addition, they feel very proud to compete in an international race on their doorstep.

54-year-old Zhu Jinping has been bicycling for six years. She is on the Niupi Team of Yanji City’s Da Di Yong Jiu Club.

“I’ve took part in five editions. Though I did not perform very well, I still considered myself a winner becaused I had completed the races,”she said.“Besides, bicycling along with the young people makes me feel more positive toward life.”

Speaking of the changes brought to his hometown by the festival, she said with joy:“Such international competitions are rare in Yanbian. It is an opportunity for more people to learn about Yanbian and come to Yanbian. The place has unique scenery, food and folk customs. Its people are hospitable. As Yanbian’s popularity grows, more and more people are visiting it, especially foreigners, and local peopl’s income has increased as a result.”

The festival, which has been held annual for six years in a row, is part of Yanbian's effort to make tourism its pillar industry. Modeled on the Vatterndan race around the lake Vattern in Sweden, the Yanbian race aims to become a sister event that can futher integrate local tourism, sports and folk culture.

This year, the mountain biking race and the long-distance road biking race were both enlarged to present Yanbian in an all round way. Ecological agriculture, health and leisure, folk culture, border scenery are all elements included in the race.

Li Zhongsen, a member of Jilin City’s Elite Team, expressed the common feeling of the athletes from outside Yanbian:“The race affords beautiful scenery and fresh air along its course. The organizing committee has turned the competition into an enjoyable experience by selecting the such a fine route. I am joyful.”

According to Meng Fanli, Deputy Director of Yanbian Tourism Development Commission, the race serves as a vehicle to promote green travel and a healthy, fashionable and low-carbon lifestyle. It has resulted in rapid growth in Yanbian’s tourism and related industries.

So far, the race was the most participated bicycling event in Yanbian and has the most competing categories.

The 100-kilometer-long race around the Yanlongtu Cultural Tourism New Area was the highlight of the festival and attracted a great deal of attention. Its course stretches through three county-level cities of Yanji, Longjing and Tumen, six towns and eighteen villages. Of the villages, 13 are under poverty alleviation programs. The race is designed to further the new area’s development as a green, innovation-driven international resort featuring leisure and high-end services.