Young Tibetan becomes new face of idyllic rural life
Tamdrin is pictured on his way home from county seat of Litang, the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Dec. 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Shen Bohan) Staring at rocky meadows through a car window at an altitude of 4,700 meters, Tamdrin knew he was almost home.The weeklong trip to Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, was the 20-year-old’s first time outside his hometown. The herder now holds the title of tourism ambassador for his home county of Litang in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze in the province.Less than a month ago, he was still an ordinary herder, until a 7-second video featuring a smiling Tamdrin went viral, making him the latest social media sensation in China.His Mandarin name Ding Zhen and related topics continue to trend on major social media platforms, and even his horse Pearl has gained some 90,000 followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.What makes Tamdrin stand out from other internet celebrities is not just his “sweet and wild” look, as it has been described by fans. As he releases more videos, his innocence and sincerity have also made legions of Chinese urbanites eager for a closer look at his home.TRAVEL BOOMIn the Tibetan language, “Litang” means “grasslands as flat as a bronze mirror.” Located 4,000 meters above sea level, Litang has also been dubbed “the city in the sky.” With a yearly visitor flow of around 1 million, Litang’s tourism is not as robust as neighboring areas such as Daocheng County, though locals believe its views are no less impressive.Thanks to Tamdrin’s instant fame, interest in Litang has surged wildly, especially since a promotional video titled “Ding Zhen’s World” was released online last week.In the video, the young man shows viewers his life: herding yaks at the foot of the snowy Geyen Mountain, racing horses across endless meadows, and singing romantic songs with his friends around a bonfire.Millions of viewers were touched by the breathtaking views in the video. “Tamdrin’s sincerity and the beauty of Litang soothe our anxious minds,” read a comment on short-video platform Douyin.”My eyes are filled with tears,” another netizen wrote on Weibo. “I believe more people will visit there, and I give my best wishes to Litang, Tamdrin and his horse.”Many are seriously considering traveling to Litang. A recent report from Trip.com, a major Chinese online tourism company, said the search volume for “Litang” had increased more than sixfold in the 10 days after Nov. 20, four times more than during the National Day holiday in early October.According to online travel service provider Qunar.com, hotel bookings in the Garze prefecture from Nov. 11 to Nov. 25 had increased 89 percent year on year and continued to rise in the following week.Travel websites are tapping into the trend by introducing routes, hotels and places to visit in Litang, and Trip.com has projected Litang will be a hotspot over the upcoming New Year’s holiday for tourists from both inside and outside Sichuan Province. 1 2 Next Page

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