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Protecting the intangible takes a special touch

By Zhang Lei | China Daily| Updated: 2021-05-24 Print


The Guizhou Statistics Bureau says that in the period 2016-2020 Guizhou Qiandongnan prefecture received 483 million tourist visits and tourism income of 420 billion yuan. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Cultural experts discuss way of ensuring that heritage remains relevant and survives.

Protecting intangible cultural heritage means maintaining cultural diversity, the foundation of cultural tourism, says Lyu Pintian, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Arts.

"The key to complementing protection and utilization is not to turn intangible heritage into tourist performances," he says. "The essence of intangible heritage is the daily life of those who live in tourist destinations."

Lyu was speaking during the second China Danzhai Intangible Heritage Week in Danzhai, Guizhou province, which began on May 15 and finishes on Sunday.

At one of the events, the China Intangible Heritage and Tourism Integration Development Forum on May 15, Dai Bin, dean of the China Tourism Research Institute, asked: "Can the ancient and rich intangible cultural heritage become more fashionable? Can it take the route of light luxury, and can it promote the integration of culture and tourism to go further?"

Intangible cultural heritage should return to its roots in contemporary life and rebuild its purpose and value in daily life, he said.

"Of course intangible heritage needs to be protected and inherited. When it has contemporary value, there is no doubt that it will perpetuate itself and expand. The role of the market in protecting and making the most of intangible cultural heritage should be accorded its original place. We must trust in the cultural tastes of people and in the commercial wisdom of business people."

Zou Tongyan, dean of the School of Tourism Management of Beijing International Studies University, said that if intangible cultural heritage cannot be endowed with new forms, new scenes, new meanings and new contexts it risks becoming extinct.

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