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2008 Is The Year To... Cruise The Yangtze

Added: (Wed Nov 14 2007)


The Three Gorges Dam Project is a new hydro-electric river dam that spans the Yangtze river. Hailed as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 21st century, the dam was designed to prevent the disastrous floods that affect the river basin every 100 years or so, and to generate hydro-electric power. Following its completion in 2009, the dam will have an operating capacity of 22,500 MW making it the largest power station of its kind. The dam could potentially reduce coal consumption by 31 million tonnes per year, cutting greenhouse gases by 100 million tones according to the Chinese government.

But aside from the economic and environmental benefits that the dam was designed to bring, its completion in 2009 is expected to have a major impact on the Yangtze river basin and its inhabitants. The 500 km reservoir will flood some 1,200 villages and towns, and thousands of valuable historical and archaeological sites will be lost. It is estimated that 4 million people will be displaced in China before 2020. Already, more than 1,400 have evacuated their homes – the largest permanent relocation in human history.

However, whether or not the dam’s benefits outweigh its environmental costs, it is certain that the completion of the project will dramatically alter the appearance of the Three Gorges. While the dam should not detract from the stunning scenery of the area, the water is set to rise over 100 metres in various places, so that a greater proportion of the dramatic limestone peaks will be submerged below water.

Book a cruise on the magnificent Yangtze before summer 2009 to see the Three Gorges in their full beauty. As the common Chinese saying goes: ‘if you haven’t travelled up the mighty Yangtze, you haven’t been anywhere’.

Cox & Kings’ popular group tour China: The Grand Tour includes a three-night Yangtze cruise on the newly rebuilt Victoria Star. The 13-night trip also takes in the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Xian and the Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Guilin, and costs from £2,695 per person, including flights with British Airways, accommodation with breakfast (full board on the cruise), transfers and all excursions.

Visit www.coxandkings.co.uk for more details.

Submitted by:laura Smith
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