Tourist attractions in East China's Shandong province are highlighting local cultural elements to lure visitors and promote deeper engagement with its historical sites.
The Confucius Museum in Qufu, for example, has rolled out historical dance and cultural-ritual performances to spice up the visitor experience.
The Confucius Museum covers an area of 57,000 square meters and brings together nearly 700,000 cultural relics, which were once kept privately in the Confucius Family Mansion.
The museum showcases Confucian teachings and relics collected by generations of Confucian disciples and serves as a place to learn about traditional culture.
"We have many children who come here every weekend to experience our learning program," says Guo Sike, the museum's curator.
Children can learn to make the types of cakes and pastries that would have been served at the Confucius Family Mansion in the past, as well as take rubbings from a stone tablet and experience a ride in a horse-drawn wagon that was used to measure distance in ancient times.
To better tap into traditional culture, the museum is working on restoring more than 30,000 files from the Confucius Family Mansion.
About a 30-minute drive away, Nishan Sacred Land is also promoting deeper engagement with local culture, through study tours, night travel and art performances, to offer visitors a more captivating experience.
Visitors can transcribe Confucian classics, watch traditional performances and attend lectures on various aspects of Confucian culture.
Nishan Sacred Land is located on Nishan Mountain, which is regarded as the birthplace of Confucius. The complex covers an area of 35.76 square kilometers.
Light and water shows, drone performances and distinctive cultural and creative products are all being employed to allow the audience to better appreciate Confucianism, says Zhao Jialiang, an official with the Nishan resort.
The Confucius Institute, which is a 30-minute drive from Nishan Sacred Land, has also rolled out a dozen cultural experiences such as re-creations of ancient rituals, seal cutting and the tea ceremony for visitors, in addition to offering an elaborate display of the history behind the Confucian culture.
Related training is also offered to provide more insight into the profound thinking of the Chinese philosopher and politician.
These moves are all part of Qufu's efforts to use the local culture to boost its tourism industry.
The cultural-tourism initiative has fueled the development of study tours in the city, which received 1.52 million visitors last year, a year-on-year increase of 52 percent.
Likewise, Taishan Mountain is tapping into its mountain-porter culture.
Porter numbers peaked as tourism boomed after China's reform and opening-up, and they made great contributions to the development of Taishan Mountain's infrastructure.
By following in the tracks of porters, visitors can better appreciate their perseverance and hardships.
Although manual labor has given way to mechanical equipment today, the porter practice has been retained to keep the old culture alive.
Tourists can also get a taste of the local intangible heritage at Tai'an Old Street, a 25-minute drive from the Taishan Mountain resort, where the local government has supported artisans to set up shop and interact with travelers.
Fan Zheng'an, a sixth-generation inheritor of Taishan Mountain shadow-puppet shows, has opened a facility on the street, where travelers can immerse themselves in the art's history and make shadow puppets of their own. They are also encouraged to deliver a show at the small theater in the facility.
With the support of the government, the shadow-puppet show has received a second lease on life after being integrated with tourism.
Now, Fan has more than 30 students.
"It gives great hope the tradition can be carried forward," Fan says.
At Daimiao Temple, a 30-minute drive away, stages have been established for intangible cultural heritage inheritors to present performances and sell cultural products.
In central Shandong's Qingzhou city, visitors can enjoy performances of intangible cultural heritage such as shuttlecock kicking, rattle-stick dances and the octagonal drum.
Cultural tourism has helped Shandong receive 940 million tourist visits last year, up 8.6 percent over the previous year. Tourism income in 2019 grew 12.1 percent year-on-year to reach 1.1 trillion yuan ($167.3 billion).