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Relaxed travel rules to hasten tourism recovery

By Yin Ruowei | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-09 08:24
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Classic Kung Fu Panda movie characters perform down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an attraction at Universal Beijing Resort, after the resort reopens on June 25. [Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]

Since the cautionary asterisk was removed from the travel code of all people living in China in June, theme parks across the country resumed operations, injecting more momentum into the recovery of domestic travel.

After being closed for nearly two months due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing, Universal Beijing Resort reopened to the public on June 25, with Universal CityWalk Beijing and the Universal Studios Grand Hotel reopening on June 24.

Some of its venues and facilities remain closed but will reopen as soon as appropriate, according to the theme park. The resort's signature rides, such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Decepticoaster and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, are now running.

Zhou Yixiang, who is responsible for the resort's security, told China Tourism News: "We have set up 22 temperature screening systems at the main entrances to the resort and more than 80 facilities to check people's health status.

"Visitors should scan a QR code to register their health status before entering each venue. By doing so, if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a close contact, only a small group of visitors will be affected."

"The pandemic prevention and control measures taken by the resort make me feel relaxed. I can see marks on the ground reminding people to keep a safe distance and disinfectants are everywhere. These measures don't cause any inconvenience to visitors," said a visitor surnamed Zhang.

Similarly, Shanghai Disneyland resumed operations on June 30, sending another positive signal of potential summer travel.

According to Suzhou-based online travel agency Tongcheng Travel, half an hour after Shanghai Disneyland's reopening announcement, the search volume of the park increased by 167 percent, compared to the day before.

"The reopening of Shanghai Disneyland is of extraordinary significance for Shanghai, and is expected to bring about a strong rebound in the tourism market during the summer," said Huang Xiaojie, chief marketing officer of Qunar, a Beijing-based online travel agency.

"During the summer, theme park ticket sales on Qunar can generally account for more than 30 percent of the total sales of scenic spot tickets nationwide. Among them, Universal Beijing Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort contribute to 20 percent of ticket sales of all theme parks in the country."

Hotels and catering businesses surrounding theme parks have benefited from their reopening. Data from Qunar showed that right after the reopening announcement of Shanghai Disneyland, the search volume of hotels around the resort increased by 260 percent. The booking volume was up 1.5 times compared to June 27.

"Ordinary theme parks can create opportunities for businesses that are within a radius of 3-5 kilometers. But these two theme park giants can be one of the drivers for the cities' growth,"Huang added. "They will help bring life and work in Beijing, Shanghai, and even the whole nation, back to normal."

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