The first list of the most attractive cities in China for travelers－released on Wednesday and based on their natural and cultural scenery, userfriendly accommodations and high-quality travel services－is designed to give other cities examples to follow as they look to improve their tourism and leisure competitiveness.
Beijing, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Suzhou in Jiangsu province took the top three spots on the list of the 30 most attractive cities, according to a report jointly issued by Beijing Union University and Social Sciences Academic Press.
The report is the nation's first academic analysis of cities' tourism and leisure competitiveness. It aims to underscore alluring destinations for domestic travelers and help promote the development of leisure destinations and tourism services nationwide.
It said all 30 cities boast not only rich historical and cultural resources, but also strong economic development.
Around 37 percent of the cities are in eastern provinces, with just 6.7 percent in the northeast and only 3.3 percent in the northwest.
Liao Bin, associate editor of the report and an associate professor at the university, told a news conference on Wednesday that environmental advantage was the basic element used to measure the cities' attractiveness. It included a city's natural environment, landscape, culture and emergency response mechanism.
He gave Huangshan, a city in Anhui province that made the list, as an example.
"Huangshan is endowed with rich natural and cultural resources and a livable environment. It takes advantage of these aspects to shape its leisure and tourism industries, securing sustainable development," he said.
Liao said the listed cities didn't just rely on the resources they already had, but used them to cultivate their competitiveness in tourism and economic development－like icing on a cake.
In addition to objective factors such as resources and facilities construction, efforts to innovate when it comes to tourism development by protecting resources, enhancing travel services and expanding tourism-related businesses also influence a city's competitiveness.
Ji Shaojun, an associate professor at Beijing Union who co-wrote the report, said, "There is a disparity between cities in terms of their efforts to innovate in their leisure and tourism development, which is mostly subject to their geographical locations, resources and local policies."
He said lower-ranking cities should first figure out what resources they can take advantage of so they can offer new, high-quality tourism services. They can also draw support from the central government to better their overall environments, which will allow them to develop and improve their leisure and tourism industries.