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Smart tourism revitalizes Heshun's economy

(Nov. 2023) Built along rivers and surrounded by mountains, the town of Heshun is located about 650 kilometers west of Yunnan’s provincial capital, Kunming. Its history stretches back more than 600 years. During the Ming era, it was established as a trading and military outpost to fortify the dynasty’s presence when Yunnan was just a distant frontier.

But Heshun’s long history has not turned it into a mere cultural relic. Instead, the town has embraced digital technology by combining the ancient with the new – in unexpected ways.

In this video, Jonas shows how technology has transformed visitors' experience in Heshun 

Heshun is fully covered by a 5G network. A high-speed broadband network enables visitors to access better services, more quickly and conveniently. Just as important, with full 5G coverage, it creates the infrastructure needed for Big Data analytics, allowing all the connected objects in the Internet of Things to send data to the intelligent platform for analysis.

Advanced technology and old architecture blend in Heshun. 

That yields insights that can make tourists’ lives easier – for example, by assigning a visitor’s car to an optimally situated parking place that saves the driver and his family a long walk. First-time visitors don't have to worry about getting lost. Using a WeChat mini program, they can find their way around, buy tickets, locate restaurants, catch buses, and book hotels, among other things. City management can receive alarms from 50 points throughout the town to respond to any emergency in real time. Whether you’ve lost your phone – or lost contact with your family member – help is just one click away.

A Heshun emergency reporting device

Even the physical infrastructure has intelligence built into it. Automatic photo printers allow shutterbugs to scan a QR code and print their best snapshots on site. Benches equipped with solar panels and electric outlets can be used to charge smartphones. Smart water fountains monitor the quality and flow rate of water, ensuring it is both safe to drink and not being wasted. If you’re visiting in July, but want to know what Heshun looks like while blanketed in snow, you can see it vividly rendered with VR and 3D digital animation technology. Heshun’s digital infrastructure also allows it to be equipped with security cameras and a fire monitoring system, playing an important role in the protection of the natural environment and its historically significant sites.

It's selfie time

Smart tourism helped upgrade the experience of cultural tourism in Heshun, but also enabled more than 4000 local residents to have increased their income. With the popular application of digital technology in the ancient town, Heshun Ancient Town will provide tourists with a more intelligent and convenient experience and become a model of smart tourism that blends classical and technology.