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Booming sports economy drives Rizhao's growth

By PRNEWSWIRE

Published : Sept. 19, 2023 - 15:21

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RIZHAO, China, Sept. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report from chinadaily.com.cn:

Rizhao, a coastal city in Shandong province, has been harnessing the power of sports to stimulate the local economy and boost its profile.

Statistics show that since the beginning of this year, the coastal city has held nearly 64 sporting events, spanning international, national, and provincial levels, drawing more than 30,000 participants and generating approximately 200 million yuan ($27.49 million) in consumption spending.

The sports economy is becoming a significant contributor to the city's growth. The national championships of the National Youth Basketball Open, which was held in Rizhao this August, set a new record for participation, with 4,049 young players from 442 teams taking part. The event also attracted over 15,000 sports enthusiasts to the city.

"The increasing number of participants is partly due to Rizhao's strong appeal as a tourist destination," said Lu Hao, the founder of the National Youth Basketball Open. He added that Rizhao's distinctive tourism resources and sports events create opportunities that stimulate local consumption.

Situated near the Yellow Sea, Rizhao lures tourists from home and abroad with its picturesque coastline scenery and seafood.

"I really love this place. Despite my brief stay in Rizhao, the captivating sea, pristine beaches, and the warm-hearted people have left me with wonderful memories," said Zhu Ruping, an athlete of Qinghai team during a national level racewalking championships held in the Rizhao in September.

Rizhao has in recent years taken efforts to turn itself into a "modern coastal sports metropolis" by combining its local culture, coastal resources, and the allure of sports to stimulate consumption and serve the city's development.

This July, the city's sports bureau released 10 policies to stimulate sports consumption. According to these policies, more efforts will be made to develop new business forms such as night sports economy, upgrade public fitness facilities by using digital technology, and roll out sports events that are linked with local tourism.