China recently changed the name of their famous “Southern Sky Column” in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province to “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” in honor of James Cameron‘s 3D sci-fi epic Avatar. Photographs of the mountain were supposedly used as the basis for Avatar’s Hallelujah Mountains in the fictional world of Pandora. Of course, the name change will probably also help tourism to the province. Tours to locations that allegedly inspired the world of the film are being offered, and the municipal government website has even adopted the slogan “Pandora is far but Zhangjiajie is near”. I wonder how many tourists will bite?
Update: In response to the increasing criticism, tourism bureau officials in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, said the name was not changed due to the movie Avatar. “The civil spontaneous action to rename the peak just shows that Zhangjiajie is protecting its own authority and special value as a World Natural Heritage,” Ding Yunyong, director of the city’s tourism bureau said. “They are using the facts to protect our mountains’ authority and promote the tourism brand. It is definitely not giving up our cultural roots for blind faith in a foreign movie.”
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