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City set to enjoy a bonanza of tourist attractions

By XU XIAOMIN in Shanghai | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-09-08 08:02
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Yuyuan Garden will present a variety of activities and invite visitors to release lotus lanterns and recite ancient poems during the tourism festival. CHINA DAILY

The physical edition of the Shanghai Tourism Festival will make its return this month. The 21-day travel extravaganza, which will begin on Sept 16, is set to comprise more than 100 activities in Shanghai and its five neighboring provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian and Jiangxi.

Li Ping, head of the Shanghai Cultural Tourism Development Center, says that a city attraction pass offering special discounts at 28 major tourist attractions and venues in the city will be launched. Named Urban Trendy Play Cards, these coupons can be used at places like the Shanghai Museum of Natural History and for tours of the Huangpu River.

Starting on Sept 17, Shanghai's iconic scenic spot Yuyuan Garden in Huangpu district will present colorful scenes and invite tourists to release lotus lanterns and recite ancient poems.

The five provinces will issue more than 84 million yuan ($11.5 million) worth of cultural and tourism consumption coupons, and 182 scenic spots will have preferential prices or special discounts that benefit over 50 million visitors, according to Cheng Meihong, deputy director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism.

Wu Xiaosheng, director of the Huangshan Administration of Culture and Tourism in Anhui province, says that the province's Huangshan city will issue 50 million yuan worth of consumer coupons from September to October. These coupons can be collected via the Huangshan Tourism official platform, and will be issued to tourists who purchase tickets for the Huangshan Scenic Area, Xidi and Hongcun ancient villages via the official platform.

Coupons for hotels, bookstores and entertainment venues in Huangshan will also be released.

The country's tourism market has been on the rebound since the beginning of this year. At the recent Shanghai Cultural Tourism Consumption Work Conference, the city's culture and tourism administrator shared that the city received 139 million domestic tourists and generated a domestic tourism revenue of 155 billion yuan in the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of more than 100 percent.

Since early this year, the occupancy rate of rooms in star-rated hotels in Shanghai has increased every month, averaging 57.42 percent for the first half of the year, up 20.3 percent year-on-year. The occupancy rate in May and June rebounded to similar levels during the same period in 2019.

"We have found that overseas tourists have a high regard for Shanghai's popularity, ease of entry and exit, and safety. Although Shanghai is not an ancient capital, its alley culture, its unique architecture, as well as the Pudong New Area, are very attractive to overseas tourists," Wang Wei, president of the Spring Tour Group, told news portal The Paper.

The Shanghai municipal government has in recent years been focusing on further developing the tourism industry to raise the city's soft power. "Building a strong brand of Shanghai tourism" was listed in the Shanghai government's annual work report for the first time last year. The tourism industry is widely recognized as one of the major "happiness industries" which can accelerate the economic growth as well as help stimulate the consumption, according to professor Lou Jiajun from East China Normal University, which released a report focusing on the development of Shanghai's tourism business.

The Shanghai Tourism Brand Development Index Research Report, which was released by East China Normal University and Shanghai Culture and Tourism Development Center, suggested that the city will make full use of its rich metropolis culture and commerce resources, modern attractions like Disneyland, historical architecture and neighborhoods to further promote its appeal to tourists.

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