Hechi is an unknown spot in China.
The city is located in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and has a total population of almost four million. It is surrounded by ranges of mountains including the tallest one called the “Nameless Peak” with an elevation of 1,693 metres. Due to its tropical wet climate, Hechi has also a remarkable biodiversity. According to experts, the area has more than 1,800 species of plants, 150 species of trees, 700 species of insects, 50 species of fish, and 60 species of land animals, many of them being now protected. Animals such as pangolins or large wild cats can be encountered in the surrounding forests.
However more than its mountains, its fauna or its flora, Hechi recently gained fame due to its senior citizens. Nowhere else in China is there a city with such a high number of people in their 80s and 90s.
By the end of 2015, Hechi had 67,000 people aged between 80 to 89 and another 760 centenarians. No surprise then that the city has been named “City of Longevity” at a recently hosted ‘International Symposium on Population Aging and Longevity’, which was held in Changchun City in northeast China.
“Hechi has become popular with many tourists, especially from Asian countries who are also fascinated by longevity, particularly South Korea and Japan,” said Wei Xigang, deputy director of the Hechi aging society work committee.
The city administration wants to further capitalize on this asset and plans to use its aging population as a way to attract tourists. Health tourism funding will be poured into Bama, a county inhabited by the ethnic Yao people and famed for having many silver-haired residents, to create a tourist destination.
“Hechi is also an impoverished area. We hope health tourism will help promote economic development,” added Wei Xigang.