It is a city with a history of 2200 years. Its landscape is unique with the West Lake surrounded by hills in its southeast, southwest and northwest while facing downtown area in the northeast. With a humanistic tradition which is elegant, leisure and comfortable, the city displays the wit and charms of oriental leisure life with various folk handicrafts and skills, folk residence and delicately and harmoniously positioned taverns and restaurants and teahouses among the natural landscapes. With its per capita of GDP just surpassing $10,000 not long ago, it boasts no strong economy. However, with innovative mentality and approaches and concentrating on improving life quality, it has not only built itself into a leisure city, but also transformed the building of a leisure city to an all-round social construction. It is the oriental leisure capital pursuing quality and innovation—Hangzhou.
According to this research, the leisure development index of Hangzhou is 0.387, among which economic index for leisure development accounts for 0.400, environmental index for leisure development 0.431 and administrative index for leisure development 0.330.
The following are the qualities and experiences that could be shared by other cities：
Firstly, renowned as “Paradise on earth” with rich natural and historical heritages, Hangzhou city is meticulously protected and scientifically governed. Hangzhou develops its leisure industry on the basis of its natural landscapes centering on the West Lake and its cultural traditions derived from Wu and Yue Culture. Hangzhou has made great input and efforts to protect its qualities as a paradise on earth, completing West Lake Comprehensive Protection Project, Xixi Wetland Comprehensive Protection Project, etc, and striving to construct a pleasant leisure environment.
Secondly, Hangzhou has positioned itself as a leisure city and implemented the development of leisure industry in its overall urban development. Hangzhou sets the goal of developing itself into “Oriental leisure capital, city of quality life” in 2007 and has carried out the research, promotion and management of urban brands systematically. This goal is also implemented in all the aspects covering industrial adjustment, urban sign systems, material production and culture development, codes of conducts, governmental services and citizen quality.
Thirdly, Hangzhou has held West Lake Expo, Leisure Expo and other large-scale exhibitions and conferences, through which the resources for leisure industry are collected and restructured, the leisure activities diversified, the urban brand as a leisure city promoted. In 1929, Hangzhou held the first West Lake Expo, the first of its kind in China and in 2000, the expo resumed. Over the years since then, the exhibition and conference industry driven by the West Lake Expo and Leisure Expo, has not only made ten major improvements for its development, but also become the accelerator, booster and unifier for leisure industry development and urban construction as a whole. It provides opportunities for the collection and restructuring of leisure resources and for the diversification of leisure activities, promoting the fame of Hangzhou as a leisure city in the world. Meanwhile, it is also an innovation of approaches to promote leisure development through expos: by holding exhibitions, forums and experiencing activities and other events, Hangzhou succeeded in promoting dialogues and exchanges between statesmen, businessmen, scholars, media and the general public. In this way, the new concept of leisure life is spread, modern leisure facilities are displayed and experiences on leisure development are shared and exchanged.
Fourthly, through improving public leisure space, Hangzhou constructs itself as a delicate city of openness and appeal. At a time when the ticket prices for scenic spots are on a constant rise nationwide, all the parks in Hangzhou are free to the public, which is rare in the whole country and all the people have access to the West Lake. In constructing its public leisure space, the city has built a number of city squares, parks and leisure pedestrian roads, and led the country in taking such favorable steps as opening the museum to the public for free, making West Lake available to everyone, providing bicycles to the public for free.
Fifthly, the city is constantly under exploration for new ways to promote its leisure development. For example, it has built a big chain of leisure items based on Ten Leisure Activity Bases. Also, it aims to develop ten potential sectors for expanding leisure industry.
Sixthly, the government, enterprises and citizens have cooperated and the public are mobilized for leisure activities. The government has been playing a leading role in leisure development. The foresight and wisdom of the government on leisure development and management are fully displayed in terms of institutional setting, industrial policies, plans for developing ten major sectors, the scheme for a leisure base as well as holding leisure expo. Besides, an active market economy helps a lot; industrial associations and other organizations play an important role; universities and other research institutes provide strong theoretical support and practical experiences for leisure development; last but not least, the citizens of the city are indispensable: they are the participants and the beneficiaries of leisure development.
Lastly, the city develops itself with international vision. Over the years, Hangzhou has been carrying out the strategy of internationalization, promoting internationalization in terms of administration governance, social services, economy and trade, urban facilities and thoughts and mentalities of its citizens. Through cooperation with UNESCO, World Tourism Organization, World Leisure Organization and other agencies, Hangzhou has conducted extensive exchanges with international academic circle on leisure development and followed closely the cutting-edge issues on international leisure development and academic research: all these demonstrate the vision and ambition for internationalization of the city.