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Show prompts tourism boost

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-18 07:35
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Thanks to the hit show, The Knockout, visitor numbers have soared in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, the city in which the drama was filmed.

After the program aired at the start of the year, the city saw more than 3.34 million trips in January and February, up 67.8 percent year-on-year, according to a statement issued by the city government on March 22.

The trips generated tourism income of more than 3.4 billion yuan ($494 million) for the city, a rise of 124.3 percent compared with the same two months last year, the statement said.

Data from the local culture and tourism department show that the number of searches related to tourism in the city rose 217 percent month-on-month in February, while travel bookings rose by 144 percent month-on-month.

"The popularity of the drama has helped our city attract more travelers and promoted the recovery of our tourism industry," said Chen Wenfei, deputy head of the Jiangmen tourist association.

For example, a historical cultural street in the city that was a major location for the drama attracted more than 2 million visits between Jan 14 and Feb 28, with an average of 43,700 trips a day, the statement added.

It cited statistics from Ctrip, an online travel platform, showing that the number of searches about tourism in Jiangmen rose by 174 percent year-on-year from March 1 to 23. By March 23, the city's tourism orders for the upcoming Labor Day holiday had surged 472 percent compared with last year.

"This year, the average occupancy rate of our hotel is as high as 80 percent, up 50 percent from last year, and our rooms are usually full at weekends," said Lin Yujiao, manager of the Gudou Spring Superior Hotel. She added that more than 30 percent of the guests traveled to the city because of the TV series to visit shooting locations and taste local delicacies that appeared in the drama.

Chen Rongbiao, executive president of the China Scheming Research Institute, said that working out how to maintain the tourism boom is important for Jiangmen's development. In addition to decorating rooms with posters of the drama and simulating scenes from the series, he called for the city's hotels and homestays to improve the quality of their services and take full advantage of technology to provide more convenience for guests.

Zhou Zhihong, secretary-general of the Guangdong Tourist Attraction Association, said that it is also necessary to help visitors learn about architectural features and understand local folk culture during their trips and to build hotels themed on the drama.

Huang Dachang, a deputy to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body, from Jiangmen, expressed excitement after he saw the tourism recovery resulting from the drama and said he regards the show as a good opportunity to improve the city's image and boost its economic development.

Zhang Zhibing, a political adviser, agreed with that view and suggested that the city government seize the opportunity to develop more innovative, high-quality tourism projects to maintain the sector's sustainable and healthy growth.


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