Zibo, a city in Shandong province, has become an overnight sensation due to its delicious barbecue, with visitors flocking to the city on weekends. Huang Yang, a native of Zibo, returned home and tried to find a barbecue restaurant but failed, as they were all full. The popularity of Zibo barbecue has prompted the local government to take advantage of the trend and promote local tourism resources.
The tourism offerings include barbecue-themed train services, dedicated bus services, barbecue maps, barbecue-themed tourism routes, free access to local scenic areas, and a barbecue festival. Officials have been promoting the city’s food and attractions, and volunteers have been working at train stations to provide information.
To ensure visitors’ safety, market regulators have carried out inspections on barbecue restaurants to ensure food safety, and police have increased the number of patrol personnel. According to data from Meituan, Zibo has seen an 800 percent increase in accommodation bookings for the upcoming May Day holiday compared to 2019, ranking first in Shandong province in terms of growth rate.
Peng Han, director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the Ctrip Research Institute, attributes Zibo’s success to the city’s mature tourism products and service standards, including barbecue-themed train services, bus services, barbecue maps, and youth hostels.
Despite Zibo’s popularity, the local tourism authority is planning for the long-term. Wang Shenghua, a senior tourism official in Zibo, asked, “What else does Zibo have besides barbecue?” The city will work to develop its profound historical and cultural resources into unique cultural brands.
Zibo has a rich history, as the ancestral home of the Shandong merchants and having origins in the Silk Road. By developing its historical and cultural resources, Zibo can create unique cultural brands that attract tourists beyond its famous barbecue.
Zibo’s barbecue has become a sensation, and the local government has taken advantage of this trend by promoting local tourism resources. The city has developed mature tourism products and service standards to ensure visitors’ safety and satisfaction. While the popularity of Zibo barbecue has not yet diminished, the city is planning for the long-term by developing its profound historical and cultural resources into unique cultural brands.