China is making moves to encourage tourism in the Shanxi province, which will become a cultural ecological protection zone.
The zone will include Pingyao, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and it is hoped it will help protect the region's heritage as well as boost visitor numbers.
Wu Qinghai, mayor of Jinzhong, said the zone will include 11 counties in Jinzhong, eight cities and counties administrated by the provincial capital Taiyuan and the city Luliang.
He told the people's congress, which is the highest level of provincial government in the region, that policies would be brought in to cover land and finance.
He added the proposal to create the zone had already been approved by the Ministry of Culture, and it is hoped the initiative will help the area's industries.
Wei Migxi, a deputy to the congress, said Jinzhong included 44 of China's cultural relics.
An article in the Shanxi Evening News claimed the protection zone would produce investment of 30 billion yuan into the region, the equivalent of $4.82 billion, which would fund 15 cultural tourism projects.
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