Southwest China's Sichuan Province, known as the hometown of giant pandas, is seeking to further exploit the economic potential of the world's favorite bear with a large panda-themed international resort that will open to guests in May.
The core project of the 35-square kilometer resort in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital city is the expanded Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, and construction will be finished in May, the Global Times learned from the resort's publicity team on Thursday.
Under the project, the research base will be expanded to three times its previous size and will open before the World University Games, which is scheduled to be held in Chengdu in August.
"The resort will show the brand, cultural and economic values of giant pandas," read a statement sent from the resort. It aims to become a "world-known international vacation destination."
The resort project is expected to attract 12 million tourists from China and overseas annually once construction is completed, the Global Times learned.
The resort will have three main industrial sectors involving pandas, including scientific research, international tourism and cultural creative products.
Themed hotels, botanic gardens and farms have also been planned at the resort, and even the restaurants will carry a panda theme.
A duty free project with an investment of 30 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) has also been introduced to the resort.
China has recently been strengthening measures to protect its wild animals and plants. The wild population of giant pandas has now increased to 1,864, the national forestry administration said on March 3. There are currently more than 600 captive pandas around the world.