Chengdu, China, is already quite famous for its giant panda sanctuary. However, the Chinese government would like to boost tourism to the region and apparently those pandas, as adorable as they are, are not drawing enough tourists. So, what is China’s solution? Smurfs!
Yes, those little blue mushroom-dwellers are getting a new lease on life: in China. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The beloved, animated blue creatures — famous for their white caps, cheery theme song, and proclivity for using the name of their race as a verb — are moving to Chengdu, where development firm Chengdu Teda Sino-Europe Construction and Smurf-brand owner IMPS plan to open a Smurf theme park, according to a report from DTZ Asia Property Market Update.
With investment of 20 million yuan, or about $2.9 million, the theme park is set to open in three to five years, according to DTZ. It’s part of a bigger plan to build tourism in Chengdu, where pandas are one of the biggest attractions.
Why the Smurf theme? Apparently the Smurfs are experiencing a bit of a revival in pop culture, with a new live action/animated movie starring Neil Patrick Harris set to come out next year, when it will no doubt appeal to the usual “Smurfs” demographic of really young children and really stoned young adults. If you fall into the latter group, consider yourself warned: The Department of State says that “Chinese law enforcement authorities have little tolerance for illegal drugs and periodically conduct widespread sweeps of bar and nightclub districts, targeting narcotics distributors and drug users.”
To visit China, you need a passport valid for at 6 months past the day you plan to arrive in China and a valid Chinese tourist visa, also known as an “L” visa. You need to apply for your visa in advance, as you will not be allowed into the country without one. For more information on how to apply, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists.
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