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Performing arts boom opens new doors for tourists

By CHEN NAN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-08 07:18
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A fan waves a flag to support Xue Zhiqian outside the pop singer's concert in Quzhou, Zhejiang province, in March. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Sites in demand

From March 17-19, more than 100,000 visitors arrived in Quzhou, with over 40,000 flocking to leading tourism destinations. The sudden influx resulted in revenue of 124 million yuan ($17.3 million) for the three days, including more than 11 million yuan for hotels.

Gong said the Songyuan Food Market in Quzhou went viral on social media platforms, with many young fans visiting it to sample local dishes, especially breakfast.

"We were very excited to see many young people coming to Quzhou, not only to watch their favorite pop singers, but also to visit our tour destinations," Gong said.

Local destinations, including the Confucian temple — one of three such temples in China that boast a history of more than 700 years — and the Shuitingmen (water and pavilion gate) historical and cultural block, a major national-level scenic spot that opened to the public in September 2016, proved particularly popular with visitors.

Gong said Shuitingmen is a pedestrian street, mainly visited by locals for recreational purposes. After it became a popular new tour destination, the local authorities launched an area where music lovers can perform for fun. This area also attracts many young visitors.

Zhou Fajun, whose company is headquartered in Quzhou and has organized concerts by singer-songwriter Wang Sulong and pop star Cyndi Wang, said: "Leading stars frequently visit bigger cities to perform, either at music festivals or in solo concerts. For smaller and less-known cities such as Quzhou, this year was the first time they had hosted performances by so many major stars.

"There were two main concerns for us — ticket sales and security, but thanks to support from the local government, everything went smoothly. Although we encountered many problems, we gained experience and learned from it. The concerts were almost sold out, and reviews from the fans were great. We will use this experience as a long-term project to attract more leading stars to Quzhou."

In addition to Quzhou, many other smaller cities staged performances by artists this year. For example, Taiwan pop icon Jay Chou's concerts in Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia autonomous region, which took place from Aug 17-20, attracted about 180,000 fans, with 70 percent of them coming from cities outside Hohhot.

From Oct 1-3, the Frenzy Motorcycle Music Festival, an outdoor event, was held in Handan city, Hebei province, about 430 kilometers from Beijing. About 30 groups and stars performed at the festival, including pop singers Li Ronghao, Li Yuchun and Zhang Jie.

Li Yuchun, a pop singer-songwriter with more than 16 million followers on Sina Weibo, performed at the festival to cheers and applause from fans.

"It was the first time I had been to Handan. When I arrived at the airport, I saw many fans. I also enjoyed the local food, which is very tasty. My colleagues went to a food market last night and were impressed by the vitality of the city. I am happy to perform here and I will return to give more concerts," Li Yuchun said.

A fan wishing to be identified only as Bohe, who was born and raised in Handan and now lives and works in Beijing, said: "When I learned Li Yuchun was going to perform at the music festival in Handan, I couldn't believe it, because my hometown had never hosted such a big music event that featured so many pop stars."

She added that Handan is known as an industrial city that is far off the tourist trail.

"I am a big fan of Li Yuchun, so I bought tickets for the festival. Some of my friends went to the event, which was the most discussed subject among us during the National Day holiday," Bohe said.

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