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Asia Minute: Chinese Village’s Unique Tourist Attraction

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This week, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority holds its annual Global Tourism Summit. The travel industry is growing around the world, and some destinations are going to unusual lengths to attract visitors. That includes one particular spot in China. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Hebei, China is a province that already gets a lot of visitors.

It’s just north of Beijing, and home to part of the Great Wall of China—a pretty well-preserved part of the wall at that.

There’s other history: pagodas and tombs that have been in place for hundreds of years.

But the latest tourist attraction in the province has little to do with history—and much to do with changing times.

In the small village of Xilinshui, government officials have planted about 130,000 juniper trees in a unique pattern.

When seen from an aerial view, the trees comprise a giant QR code.

Yes, one of those computer barcodes that can be scanned by a smartphone or a tablet. In this case, from very far away – from an airplane or helicopter.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency says that’s possible—and if you succeed you’ll be taken to the village’s WeChat account for tourism.

The massive QR code is about 250 yards on each side of a rectangle – 2.5 football fields.

But it’s also not the first time this has been done.

The South China Morning Post reports a Chinese developer created a QR code from grass and marble that sprawled over an acre and a half – part of an ad campaign for a set of investment properties.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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