Outdoor sports fuels rural vitalization in Shandong

(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2024-07-04

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Shandong is harnessing the power of outdoor sports to revitalize its rural areas. By transforming its abundant natural and cultural resources into outdoor recreation destinations, Shandong is attracting visitors, creating jobs, and boosting local economies.

Shima town, Zibo, a prime example of this transformation, once struggled to attract attention despite its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. However, by embracing outdoor sports, the town has become a popular destination for hiking, cycling, and other activities. The Wuyang Lake Sports and Culture Park alone receives over 300,000 visitors annually and provides jobs for over 200 rural residents.

Recognizing the potential of outdoor sports, Shandong has launched initiatives to support and develop the sector across the region. A sports carnival kicked off in Shima Town on June 29, featuring a diverse lineup of competitions, including a swimming race, a climbing competition and a kayaking show.


Athletes sprint fiercely in a marathon held as part of the sports carnival. [Photo/WeChat account: shandongshengtiyuju]

The success of events like the 2023 World Triathlon Cup held in Weihai last year further demonstrates the economic impact of outdoor sports. The event generated direct economic benefits of 47 million yuan ($6.46 million) and quantifiable brand value exceeding 400 million yuan.

Shandong plans to develop rural characteristic outdoor sports industries such as mountaineering, cycling, water sports, air sports, and camping. It will also cultivate and create rural characteristic outdoor sports consumption scenarios, deepen the integration of sports with various industries, and aid in rural vitalization.