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Night tourism a bright light for economy as contagion under better control

By ZHU WENQIAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-08-28 09:32
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Children and parents inside a tent at the Wuhan Natural History Museum in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Aug 15. [Photo by Shi Wei/For China Daily]

Since August, Chinese consumers' enthusiasm to venture out at night has risen along with the daytime temperatures.

This summer, the number of available nighttime travel products on Fliggy, the online travel arm of Alibaba Group, jumped 20 percent on a yearly basis. The main consumers of night tour products are those born in the 1990s, and they accounted for more than 50 percent of the total, Fliggy said.

"The liveliness of the night economy is an important measure of urban vitality. The offering of nighttime events and travel products meets demand from young consumers who take tours locally and in neighboring areas. They will help boost the recovery of urban culture and tourism since the outbreak of COVID-19," said Cui Yupeng, deputy general manager of the vacation department at Fliggy.

With more people preferring to take weekend trips locally and to nearby regions, this has fueled the popularity of nighttime events at bed-and-breakfast homestays and resorts.

Some luxury hotels, such as Marriott Group, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Bellagio Shanghai, have launched nighttime activities such as parties, drink-one's-fill at bars and workout events to satisfy the entertainment demand of urbanites after the sun goes down.

Some domestic bed-and-breakfast businesses in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, and Guangzhou, Guangdong province, as well as Zhongwei, the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, have launched nighttime events such as outdoor camping, stargazing and bonfire parties to attract more travelers.

Senbo Resort Hangzhou, a high-end vacation resort in Zhejiang province, introduced regular nighttime party events at its water park.

"The party features electronic music DJs, local singers, dancing and water-related carnivals. As opposed to daytime events that mainly attract families, the nighttime activities aim to draw more young people," said Zhang Yang, brand director of the resort.

In addition to major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province, some other cities such as Huzhou, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Jiangsu province's Nanjing and Sichuan province's Chengdu are also quite popular destinations with their nighttime travels.

Meanwhile, some theme parks are accelerating efforts to boost nighttime sessions. Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, as well as Happy Valley in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan have seen red-hot sales of their nighttime admission tickets of late.

"Haichang Ocean Park in Shanghai, Chongqing, Shandong province's Qingdao and Hainan province's Sanya have launched nighttime admission tickets. Stimulated by increasing offerings and demand, more families are opting to head to theme parks after dark," said Zheng Fang, senior sales director of Haichang Ocean Park.

For the tourism industry, the introduction of more nighttime travel and leisure products can help transform and enrich travel lineup offerings, increase value-added services and boost other related sectors.

For most domestic sightseeing attractions, including natural scenic areas, theme parks, museums, cultural heritage sites and indoor spots, evening opening times are mostly between 7 pm and 10 pm, with only very few places remaining open after 10 pm.

In addition, some riverside cities such as Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou offer various night cruise tours. However, opening times, weather conditions and related policies could restrict the large-scale business growth of cruise tours, said Beijing-based online travel agency Qunar.

"Short-distance excursions are more dependent on the opening hours of certain scenic spots. It would be helpful if the government could issue more favorable policies, such as allowing the extension of opening hours, as well as strengthening the building of security and public transportation facilities and infrastructure," said Gou Zhipeng, president of Qunar.

"Developing nighttime urban tourism will also help drive the business growth of restaurants, transportation and shopping areas that are near the sightseeing spots,"Gou said.

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