The boundaries of the city of Guilin are now much larger. The new city, composed of former city
of Guilin and the Guilin Prefecture, encompasses 27,797 square kilometres. It has a population of 4.79 million. Undeniably,to live in Guilin is to be a lover of mountains and rivers. Which is not to say that all the city residents spend this leisure hours gallivanting among the hills and forests of the high country.
The establishment of the new city, approved by the State Council in 1999, will further to strengthen Guilin's status as a tourist attraction, and promote' construction and economic development in the whole area. The new government gives top priority to tourism and make better use of rich resources to develop its economy. The expansion provides better opportunity for the city to optimize tourism structure and improve tourism services.
Guilin, one of China's most popular scenic cities, played host to 10.97 million tourists in 2002, up 8.7 per cent from 2001. The city ranked in a record 4.99 billion yuan (US$ 601 million) in earnings from tourism. With a history of more then 2,000 years, Guilin is renowned for its green mountains, clear water and strangely shaped rock formations.
Most of the sights in Guilin are scenic. Although the mountains are the usual peaked mountains, they are rounded at the top and there are tons of them, very picturesque. They look almost fake and the ones in the background fade to grey more than the nearer, darker ones. A popular Chinese saying goes: The scenery in Guilin is the finest, but Yangshuo's is still better , The well known poet Han Yu(768-820) in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) described Guilin's landscape: "The river forms a green gauze belt, the mountains are like blue jade hairpins." Thr river resembles a green ribbon, while the hills are emerald hairpins."