West Lake of Boston’s Sister City Hangzhou Ranked Top Scenic Spot in China

By Xinming Li, bostonese.com

Boston, May 18, 2015, — Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province, China, and a sister city of Boston. The city’s West Lake was, once again, the most popular scenic spot in China during the three-day Labor Day (May 1, known as May Day in the US) holiday, according to a list by AMAP. The city’s Thousand Island Lake, the Forbidden City in Beijing, Hengdian World Studios and Mount Lao in Shandong ranked the second to the fifth on the list.
Photos of West Lake by painter Sophia Yee, who grew up in Hangzhou, in the early Spring of 2011.

The ranking does not indicate the exact number of tourists to these places. AMAP noted that its data derive from its map service, navigation service and AMAP’s partners, such as public means of transportation, ride-hailing software and government organizations. According to the West Lake Administrative Committee, the scenic area received 1.733 million tourists during the three-day holiday.

AMAP also noted that most of the tourists to the most popular scenic areas came from neighboring cities or provinces. The popularity also led to pressure on traffic. According to Zhejiang Provincial Public Security Department, over 2.4 million vehicles hit the road on May 1, up 9.46% from a year ago.

According to cityofboston.gov, Hangzhou, generally regarded as China’s most scenic city, was described by Marco Polo as “Paradise on Earth”. From this perspective, it is easy to see why Boston and Hangzhou have so much in common. Designated a special trade zone by the Chinese government, the City of Hangzhou is now seeking to strengthen economic ties with Boston. Many events have occurred to accomplish this including a trade fair hosted by Hangzhou at the World Trade Center in May 1991; participation by manufacturing companies in the Asian Trade Festival at Hynes Convention Center, February 1993; a visit by the Hangzhou Silk Fashion Team – to promote its silk industry, April 1993; and a visit by Mayor Wang Yongming in November 1994 to further strengthen ties between our two cities. Many artistic, cultural and educational exchanges have also occurred since the establishment of sister city ties.
Fudan University Boston Alumini team at 2014 Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival(file photo).

Boston is also a big tourism destination like Hangzhou. With nonstop flights from Shanghai and Hong Kong by Hainan Airlines and Cathay Pacific begin service this year, number of tourists from China visiting Boston is expected to continue its rapid growth over past few years. Boston has the longest running Dragon Boat race in North America. The 36th Annual Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will be held on June 13-14, 2015. The banks of Charles River on both Boston and Cambridge sides will be as crowded as the Su and Bai Causeways over West Lake in Hangzhou.

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