Jiuzhai Valley National Park: Data-Driven Economic Growth and Ecological Preservation
Since 2000, China's Jiuzhai Valley National Park (Jiuzhai Valley) had been experiencing a sharp increase in the volume of tourists it received. The park contributed significantly to the surrounding area's economy: in 2015 and 2016, it contributed more than 60 per cent of the total admission income received from the four major scenic parks within the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province. However, pollution and noise due to the influx of visitors presented a constant threat to Jiuzhai Valley's ecosystem and environment. Despite Jiuzhai Valley's fairly advanced and disciplined approach to park management, there was no easy solution to the problem it faced in trying to balance its economic success and sustainable environmental initiatives. Attempts to manage information using digital and smart technologies and "big data" were still in their early stages, and had yet to yield the expected benefits. How could the park balance conservation and development to attain sustainability? H. Brian Hwarng is affiliated with National University of Singapore.