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Night tours become popular

By Zhu Wenqian | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-14 07:08
Visitors enjoy a night safari at Shanghai Wild Animal Park on Aug 5, 2019. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Group visits, admission tickets, other excursions up 60% on monthly basis 

Nighttime tours and performances are becoming increasingly popular in China, as rising daytime temperatures are cooling the fervor for visiting popular tourist spots and other attractions, a new report said.

For sightseeing destinations and travel agencies, nighttime travel lengthens tourists' stay time, and helps bring new business opportunities. It has also become a tool to stimulate the upgrading of leisure tourism consumption, industry experts said.

Group tours, admission tickets and other excursions during the nighttime in July surged by 60 percent over June. During the two weeks in late July, bookings of nighttime events soared by over 100 percent compared with two weeks earlier, according to Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency.

"Recently, a lot of tourists have chosen to stay in hotels during the day, and go out at night. For example, taking a cruise tour and walking around the Hongya Cave in Chongqing are quite popular," said Fang Hongfeng, general manager of the activities business unit at Ctrip.

"Travelers can appreciate the dynamic beauty of the scattered lights of the mountainous city, and tens of thousands of people have booked cruise tickets to go sightseeing on boats. We are bullish on the growth prospects for night cruise tours in the city," he said.

In fact, for some cities, old towns, theme parks, scenic spots, riversides, and astronomical tourism sites, the scenes are more attractive and fun during nighttime than daytime, and travelers feel more comfortable with cooler temperatures and smaller crowds, Ctrip said.

The riverside of the Huangpu River in Shanghai and the West Lake in Hangzhou have been more popular at night than daytime this summer.

Besides, watching glowworms at night in botanical gardens, watching fireworks shows at Disneyland in Shanghai and taking night tours by chartered cars in the ancient city of Xi'an, are all unique nighttime experiences for tourists, Ctrip said.

Among those travelers who like to go out at night, men account for two-thirds of the total. Besides, nearly half of the travelers are aged between 30 and 39, followed by those who were born in the 1990s and 2000s, Ctrip found.

When it comes to overseas countries, many places have fostered a highly mature night economy, such as the fireworks festivals in Japan. They are extremely popular and will be staged more than 1,000 times a year, with major shows taking place in July, August and September.

Meanwhile, watching concerts, stage plays, comic dialogues and other kinds of shows and exhibitions are also popular and distinctive evening pastimes. For instance, the Lion King musical of Disney has been well received this summer, according to Qunar, a major online travel firm that was earlier acquired by Ctrip.

In Beijing, travelers and local residents like to gather together at night to eat out, exercise and have some fun activities. The Olympic Park, Shichahai Lake, and some bustling business circles are among the most popular attractions.

This summer, hotels in the capital have raised their prices by 10 percent on average over last summer, but the number of people staying at luxury hotels accounted for a quarter of the total, and the occupancy rate edged up 7 percent year-on-year, Qunar found.

Despite the popularity of nighttime tours and events, industry experts said nighttime travel means higher requirements on traffic infrastructure and safety management.

"Not every city is suitable for developing nighttime travel products. For local governments and markets, nighttime tours require creating some innovative events featured for the night as these shape brand impact. They should also attract the concentration of related service sectors and have the ability to grow sustainably," said Kou Xingliang, a researcher at Lanzhou University.

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