Zhangjiajie, 9 September -- Topic: The affectionate persistence of a pair of Taiwan father and son: Let the world see the beauty of Zhangjiajie

Written by Liu Shuangshuang Liu Man

Carefully read the ropeway maintenance record report from 7 days to 15 days before the festival to ensure that all the limits, sensors and safety lines on the ropeway are in place; Check whether the belts, tires, wheel linings meet the standards of use... With the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day "Double Festival" holidays approaching, Zhang Jiayuan, son of Taiwan businessman Zhang Furen and general manager of Zhangjiajie Huangshizhai Ropeway Company, and his employees were busy conducting health "physical examinations" for the cableway.

With the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays approaching, Zhang Jiayuan (middle), general manager of Zhangjiajie Huangshizhai Ropeway Company, and his employees were busy conducting health "physical examinations" for the cableway. Photo by Wu Yongbing

"The development and expansion of Zhangjiajie's tourism industry is both a witness and a participant. The Huangshi Zhai Ropeway is a 'window' for Chinese and foreign tourists to enjoy the scenery of Zhangjiajie, and safety issues do not allow a trace of sloppiness. Zhang Jiayuan followed in his father's footsteps and took root in Zhangjiajie for nearly 30 years, and was accustomed to introducing himself as "Zhang Jiayuan of Zhangjiajie".

In the early 20s of the 90th century, "tourism" was still a strange word in China. "At that time, my father was on a business trip to Hunan and heard that the scenery of Huangshi Village was very beautiful, and it took more than 14 hours to reach Zhangjiajie by a ride from Changsha, and I was deeply shocked by the magical landscape in front of me and decided to invest here." Zhang Jiayuan said that his father Zhang Furen was the first person to invest in Zhangjiajie on behalf of a Taiwanese company.

Huangshi Village is the core scenic spot of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, a world natural heritage site, surrounded by cliffs and strange rocks. How to let the world see the beauty of Zhangjiajie? In 1993, a Taiwanese investor signed a joint venture contract with the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Management Office to build a passenger ropeway in Huangshizhai, a core scenic spot.

Zhang Jiayuan's father, Zhang Furen (middle), is the founding president of the Zhangjiajie Taiwan Business Association and was awarded the "Hero of Tourism Development for the 20th Anniversary of the Founding of Zhangjiajie". Photo courtesy of interviewee

"Initially there were three options: build a helicopter platform, build an elevator or build a ropeway. Finally, after strict argumentation, it is believed that the ropeway has the highest safety factor and the least damage to the environment. Zhang Jiayuan recalled that his father Zhang Furen, as a representative of the Taiwan side and a major member of the engineering construction headquarters, set up his office on the mountain during the preparation period, and personally checked all links such as project exploration and design, construction and installation to completion acceptance.

After more than three years of preparation, in November 3, the first tourist cableway in Zhangjiajie was officially opened in Huangshi Village, filling the gap of Zhangjiajie tourist cableway and becoming the only reciprocating cableway in China at that time. In the past, it took more than two hours to climb Huangshi Village, and it took only 1997 minutes to take the ropeway. In the 11 years of operation, it has safely transported more than 5 million tourists.

As the founding president of Zhangjiajie Taiwan Business Association, Zhang Furen actively invited Taiwanese travel businessmen, entrepreneurs and media friends to Zhangjiajie to step on the line, investigate and visit. Nowadays, Zhangjiajie has set up "tourism image stores" in many places in Taiwan, and the proportion of Taiwan compatriots who travel to Zhangjiajie is very high.

"The first time I came to Zhangjiajie to visit relatives, when I arrived at the mountain gate, I couldn't help but sigh, wow wow, this place is so beautiful, the motherland's great rivers and mountains are so beautiful." After 1995, Zhang Jiayuan spent most of his time in Zhangjiajie, helping to manage the company's affairs.

After taking the "baton", Zhang Jiayuan kept in mind his father's teachings and actively promoted cross-strait exchanges, while donating to Zhangjiajie's "Hope Project" every year to fund education, without interruption for 23 years. Not only that, the company will also provide jobs for some disabled people with difficult families in the local area.

In stark contrast to generous donations, Zhang Jiayuan inherited his father's pragmatic and low-key style and never extravagantly wasted. The office décor is extremely simple, and the company never holds big celebrations, striving to put every penny to the fore.

Zhang Jiayuan, general manager of Zhangjiajie Huangshizhai Ropeway Company, has been "rooted" in Zhangjiajie for nearly 30 years, committed to promoting cross-strait tourism and cultural exchanges, hoping to let more people see the beauty of Zhangjiajie. Photo by China News Network reporter Liu Shuangshuang

"The beauty of Zhangjiajie deserves to be seen by more people." It was with this idea in mind that Zhang Jiayuan used the more than 3000,<> bluestone steps and steep primeval jungle in Huangshi Village to build a challenging track, creating a precedent for holding a bicycle extreme challenge at a world natural heritage site. "This is one of the most exciting, beautiful and dangerous tracks in the world right now."

In 2022, the first Hunan Tourism Development Conference was held in Zhangjiajie, and Zhang Jiayuan's company invested special funds to strengthen the upgrading and renovation of convenient facilities such as equipment maintenance, circular roads, broadcasting systems, and tourist toilets and the construction of new projects, so as to "dress up" the scenic spot and upgrade it simultaneously.

Recently, Zhang Jiayuan was invited to attend the Hunan and Taiwan Economic and Trade Exchange and Cooperation Industry Matchmaking Conference. He is not only the "spokesperson" of Zhangjiajie, but also the "liaison officer" for cross-strait exchanges and cooperation. "My father's wish is to promote Zhangjiajie to the world. I will continue to innovate to make Huangshi Village an important carrier of cross-strait tourism and cultural exchanges, so that more Taiwan compatriots can see the great rivers and mountains of the motherland. Zhang Jiayuan is full of hope for the future. (End)