A mountainous region of stunning beauty in the heart of China, Zhangjiajie attracted nearly as many as half a million people in the 2006-07 season. But with the downturn the number of tourists to Zhangjiajie more than halved.
Zhangjiajie’s main attraction is the National Forest Park which has more than three thousand sandstone peaks.
Now switch to the movies, where Avatar has become the highest grossing movie ever in China. It has been decided that the floating mountain in Avatar looked like one of these a stone column, which tapers from bottom to top. It has three names – Pillar of the Universe, Southern Sky Column (Nantianyizhu). The third is Mount Hallelujah to tie in with the Hallelujah Mountains on the fictional planet of Pandora featured in the Avatar movie.
Now local tourism officials at Huangshan – also known as Yellow Mountain –- in Anhui Province has laid claim that theirs was the inspiration for the Hallelujah peaks. And they cited a newspaper interview with director James Cameron, during his visit to China for the movie premiere, saying that Huangshan had inspired the design of Avatar’s floating mountains.
That may only be partially accurate. In an interview with NBC News, Cameron said that he had “used a lot of references,” citing Venezuela and both Huangshan and Zhangjiajie in China.
Officials in Zhangjiajie backtracked, saying they had not changed the name after all.
MSNBC reports that an official involved in overseeing the promotion of Zhangjiajie said they would be launching a new campaign in April, featuring the phrase, “Pandora is far … but Zhangjiajie is near.”