The Modern Marco Polo Experience Program is swinging at full speed, and it’s now down to five finalists contending for the title of Modern Marco Polo. Other ardent explorers need not despair, for the Hangzhou Tourism Commission, in collaboration with Travelport, is now offering winners of interactive campaign Marco Polo’s Oriental Journey a free trip to Hangzhou.
Marco Polo’s Oriental Journey’s online game Trace the Marco Polo takes gamers to relive Marco Polo’s exciting expedition to Hangzhou, declared by the explorer to be “the most charming and splendid city on Earth” when he visited 800 years ago. From now until June 30, 2014, simply sign in with Facebook on marcopolo.gotohz.com to enter a five-stage test of velocity and vision. The mission is to locate the elusive footprints of Marco Polo with a magnifying glass within the shortest time possible. The five stages will take gamers to the city’s top iconic sights, including the ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, UNESCO World Heritage site West Lake, the Leifeng Pagoda, the Xixi Wetland, and the Lingyin Temple.
A special tip for gamers eager to win is to click on “The Legends” and “Hangzhou Specialty” to read about the folklore and distinctive features of the local community. This will reduce their total time count by 2 seconds. However, be wary of the mysterious footprints that pop into the magnifying glass – some may increase the total time count!
The winner will receive an economy return ticket to Shanghai (an hour’s train ride from Hangzhou) and five nights of luxury stay at the Banyan Tree Hangzhou hotel, worth USD 6,000. A Top Referral Winner who introduces the most friends to the game will also win one economy return ticket to Shanghai plus five nights of luxury star at the Sheraton Hangzhou Wetland Park Resort, worth USD 3,800.
As part of the Marco Polo’s Oriental Journey interactive campaign, Travelport is promoting discounted airplane tickets, hotel offers, and other travel privileges. One special tour offered on the website retraces Marco Polo’s original route from China’s windy northwest to fertile lands of the southeast.
“Be the Modern Marco Polo Experience Program” is a campaign hosted by the Hangzhou Tourism Commission to promote Hangzhou to foreign travelers. The campaign includes Explore Hangzhou Online and Modern Marco Polo Competition, the winner of which will receive a 15-day trip to Hangzhou as a promotional ambassador.
Hangzhou is one of the six oldest capitals in China and is an integral part of the world’s sixth largest economic center – the Yangtze River Delta. Offering 8,000 years of rich culture, it was established as an important city of the Chinese civilization. When Marco Polo visited 800 years ago, he declared it “the most charming and splendid city on Earth.”
The city, located in Zhejiang Province on the southeastern coast of China, is rich in cultural heritages. The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the world’s oldest and longest man-made canal, is home to 85 heritage sites (11 of which are in Hangzhou). The city is also renowned for its traditional methods of producing fine porcelain, silk, and tea. An array of museums dedicated to each art informs travelers about their contributions to civilization.
Hangzhou is at the centre of a stunning natural landscape. The West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is encompassed on three sides by hills. It has inspired famous poets, scholars, and artists since the 9th century. Ten scenic sites have been given poetic names such as Autumn Moon on Calm Lake and Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds. There are two causeways and three islands with picturesque pagodas, pavilions, lush gardens, and historic temples.
Hangzhou is the most Googled destination in China, and was recently ranked as the fourth top destination in China by TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice. Hangzhou received over 3 million visitors in the past year with a tourism boost of 18.5% during the 2014 Chinese New Year holiday. Hangzhou is only an hour from Shanghai on the bullet train.