Guangzhou Conghua, a thermal winter destination



Lu Weixiong has spent six years of his life in the hot spring industry, a key pillar of the economy in Guangzhou’s Conghua district. As the current president of the Conghua Hot Springs Tourism Association, and also owner of three resorts, Lu saw what Conghua has to offer as a winter getaway.

Lu is proud of the local hot springs and believes they live up to destinations from renowned hot springs like Switzerland. “Our hot springs have a unique element, with characteristics that can have health and body benefits. Our waters are bland and colorless, while feeling soft and comfortable on the skin,” he said.

And that confidence is maintained with recent figures not only from Conghua, but from Guangdong Province as a whole. Based on combined media reports, the province’s hot springs tourism has consistently ranked first in the entire country throughout the year. The province is also home to 17 cities listed as “hot spots to visit” during the winter season.

A survey conducted by China’s online travel agency platform Alibaba, Fliggy, or Feizhu, ranked Guangzhou as the top spot for hot springs in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the strict measures and controls that are in place. ‘n deriven. Travel website Lvmama released its latest data, which found a 75 percent increase in hotel bookings for its platform for December 2020 alone.

Tourists soak in the Conghua Hot Spring, Guangdong Province, China. / CGTN

Tourists soak in the Conghua Hot Spring, Guangdong Province, China. / CGTN

“In 2018 our employment rate was 40 to 50 percent,” Lu said. “Now, even during the epidemic period, it’s hard to find a room here. Reservations are made a month and a half in advance. That’s thanks to some of the renovations and improvements being made here to attract more tourists.” , added.

Despite the increase in business, balancing the safety of tourists with the local economy has been a difficult act, but it has also forced hotels and spas to come out of the box when it comes to attracting visitors and increasing sales. .

“As for local businesses, we have driven and made changes to online sales and bookings,” explained Huang Xiaohai, deputy head of Conghua District. “Since last October, the hot spring industry here has recovered well. Some hotels were able to earn 10 million yuan thanks to online streaming promotions,” Huang added.

Reflecting on last year and the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Huang admitted that the epidemic “impacted a lot” on the Conghua hot spring market. But this did not deter companies and health authorities from finding balanced solutions.

“In terms of health security, we have increased daily disinfection of swimming pools, implemented strict visitor registration and limited swimming pools to one family each,” Huang said.

“When the outbreak began, the whole country saw a reduction in the movement of people and, with this reduced flow, there were obviously fewer tourists and less income. During last year’s Spring Festival, the staff was also scarce as they had had we returned home, so at that time we simply had to strictly enforce health regulations and resume business accordingly, ”Huang explained.

With much of China containing recently pocketed coronavirus resurgences, optimism in Conghua, an area with zero cases, remains high, especially for Lu.

“In fact, many of our reserved customers come from the last few days. You can see the recovery. The hot springs here in Conghua could usher in even greater success in 2021,” he added.

(Zeng Wenxiang also contributed to this story)