Panzhihua is an emerging city of immigrants with 42 ethnic minority groups, including the Yi, Lisu and Hui, which contribute to various folk customs such as the ’Torch Festival’, the ’Skirt-exchange Ceremony’ and ’Dongjing Ceremonial Music of the Yi people; the ’Water-splashing Festival’ and ’Having a Date with Girls’ of the Dai; ’Paperless Love Letters’ of the Lisu; ’Zouhun (Moving Marriage)’ and the ’Chengding (Coming of Age) Festival of the Mosuo. Colorful cultures as well as diversified folk songs, dances and costumes, regional special tastes are all appealing to visitors.
Listed among the key attractions on the China Great Shangrila Touring Route and proposed under the Sichuan Shangrila Travel Industry Program, Gesala Eco-tourism Project was officially appraised in March 2005. With a total investment estimated at 448 million yuan, the proposed project covers an area of 100 km2 including a central scenic area of 20km2. Scenic spots include the Yi Village Tourist Reception Center, the Horse-racing Field , the ’Natural Ported Landscape’, the Suomageze Wetland, the Ridunixi Highland Pasture for Horse-riding and Shepherding, the Jiudaozulin Virgin Forest and the Lishihuopu Camping Area. In response to the state Great Shangrila tourism development program, a Management Committee has been established to intensify investment promotion for this project. By 2006 this project is scheduled to come into initial operation. Additional projects proposed are: the Ashuda Agricultural New Village for suburb holiday spending; the Yishala Yi Village in Renhe District to be the first Lipu Yi demonstration village in China and the Xinshan Lisu Folk Custom Town. By promoting regional eco-resources, folk customs and cultures, a 50-km-long tourism corridor extending over Hongge-Ertan-Gesala will soon be formed. In combination with other well-known tourism resorts in the borderland, such as Chuxiong, Lijiang, Dali, etc, an eco-culture oriented touring route covering both Sichuan and Yunnan will come with a promising future.