Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Publicity and service key to attracting more visitors

By Jiang Yiyi and Wang Shifeng | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-19 07:55
Share - WeChat
Visitors take photos with sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow World on February 15, 2024. [Photo/CGTN]

The term "Erbin", a nickname of Harbin, Heilongjiang province, known for its ice and snow festival, has gained popularity across China. Many tourism officials are using techniques such as "topic flooding", "local-style rap", "directors' speeches" and the "star effect" to promote cultural tourism, leaving netizens exclaiming in amusement. Shifting from online antics to offline engagement, tourism authorities in other provinces also compete for tourists.

The essence of this "fancy rat-race" lies in the fact that various regional cultural tourism initiatives are targeted at the Spring Festival tourist boom, using hype to attract tourists and boost the local economies. But relying solely on publicity and extravagant tactics is not enough to attract more tourists. With the extended Spring Festival this year, the key lies in converting the Spring Festival "tourist traffic" into "long-term tourist traffic" by providing quality services. So cities and tourist spots should focus on three factors to attract more tourists.

As cultural tourism gains popularity, tourist spots and the places they are located in must have the capacity to accommodate the increasing influx of tourists. First, they need to improve tourism infrastructure and tourism services through rational planning and establishing efficient tourism information centers, building better roads to scenic spots and tourist service platforms, and installing proper traffic signs.

Second, they should provide related supporting services to enhance tourists' experience. For that, the tourist spots and cities need to further develop tourist attractions, providing comfortable and safe parking lots, restrooms, rest areas, dining services and other supporting facilities.

For example, Harbin has done that by reducing the waiting time for tourists, Harbin's Ice and Snow World has introduced a 3D-composite ice bar, ice hot-pot, and ice house experience hall, which are innovative facilities that both increase consumption and enhance tourists' experience. Similarly, the Beidahu Ski Resort in Jilin province has expanded its ski trails from 27 to 64, increasing the area from 126 hectares to 239 hectares, with the aim of becoming the first skiing resort in China to accommodate more than 1 million visitors.

Quality tourism service is key to propelling the high-quality development of the tourism industry. In this context, it is necessary to first improve the tourism service quality. Tourist attractions, star-rated hotels, travel agencies, online travel agencies, and homestay providers should endeavor to provide overall better tourism services.

For instance, Harbin's promotion has been successful because of not only its ice and snow show but also its warm and thoughtful services, evident in its promotion of local specialty, frozen pears, and the laying of slipping-resistant carpets in underground passages on Central Street, and building of warm rest stops in collaboration with Haier, which show its concern for the safety and well-being of tourists.

Besides, local government departments should create a good environment for tourists. For example, following the success of Zibo's barbecue promotion, multiple departments of the city in Shandong province issued price limits, prohibiting barbecue outlets and hotels from hiking their prices and room tariffs, and launched special barbecue shuttle buses, showing their concern for tourists.

Yet there is also a need to make tourists better aware of the services available. As front-line workers in the reception industry, the words and actions of tour guides reflect the nature of a travel agency, and influence tourists' ideas and evaluations about its service quality. Travel agencies should therefore provide proper training to their staff, so the latter can provide better, professional services to tourists, and be courteous toward their clients.

At present, many regional cultural tourism departments and travel agencies use the internet to attract potential tourists' attention. But if they believe they can replicate the success of Harbin by blindly following its promotional methods, they are wrong. They should, instead, tap into their unique resources, highlight their cultural characteristics, tell authentic local cultural tourism stories to enhance tourists' experience and thus attract more tourists.

Also, the local tourism departments and travel agencies should identify their advantageous tourism resources, focus on their unique selling points and develop branded cultural tourism products to draw more visitors.

For instance, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, has the first immersive Tang Dynasty (618-907) market town themed district in China, the Longest Day in Chang'an, which covers different aspects of the Tang Dynasty's cuisine, handicrafts, cultural banquets and immersive performances, providing tourists with a unique chance of "traveling through the Tang Dynasty in a day".

It is also important to tell compelling local cultural stories. While cultural tourism bureaus generally engage in competition based on the number of promotional videos and other forms of promotional material they release, they often lack in depth knowledge and fail to promote characteristic local cultural products. They should therefore focus on promoting local cuisine, local natural resources, local culture and local personalities, and tell their stories in a way that resonates with tourists, so as to attract more visitors.

Jiang Yiyi is deputy dean of the sport, leisure and tourism school of Beijing Sport University. Wang Shifeng is a PhD candidate at the same school.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

If you have a specific expertise, or would like to share your thought about our stories, then send us your writings at, and





Most Viewed in 24 Hours
China Views
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349