Fantastic opening sets stage for tourism festival
Amid scenes of joy and fun, the North Bund in Hongkou District along the Huangpu River was lit up on Saturday night as the 2023 Shanghai Tourism Festival, the city's annual tourism extravaganza, opened.
Between September 16 and October 6, 200 diversified activities will be rolled out across the city, with the festival themed "Light Up the World-class Parlor."
Now in its 34th edition, it is taking on a brand-new look toward the goal of making Shanghai a world-famous tourist destination and the first stop in China for inbound travelers.
The opening ceremony, a visual feast for the eyes, welcomed many foreign guests and participants who say they have been fascinated by Shanghai's splendid tourist resources and unique charm.
Paliuka Nastassia, from Russia, said she was very excited to attend the opening ceremony as a dancer.
"It's my first time to attend the festival, and I am so excited," she told Shanghai Daily. "It's pretty cool."
Nastassia said she had prepared for the moment for one month.
"The dance was amazing because we have a lot of beautiful costumes and we want to show people the best," she added.
Nastassia has been in Shanghai for two years as a performer at the Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park in the Pudong New Area.
"Shanghai is the most beautiful city I have seen for its beautiful buildings, streets and parks. Everything is beautiful," she said. "Here there are a lot of foreigners also, so I have chance to talk with people from other countries, which is pretty nice."
In her spare time, Nastassia makes videos to promote Shanghai to her family and friend back home.
Franka Gulin, from Croatia, was impressed by the rich estival schedule.
"I just checked the schedule to decide what to do and where to go with my friends," she said. "There are many activities and I heard this year's festival will be more spectacular than ever."
She has been living in Shanghai for four and a half years.
"I think Shanghai is a city that you can meet people from all over the world, which is very good," she said.
Her favorite part of Shanghai are the heritage buildings.
"The way how history is preserved is really incredible," she said.
"Every few weeks, you are able to discover some new heritage buildings and stories behind them."
In her spare time, Gulin enjoys walking through the city.
"There are many interesting places in Shanghai," she said.
Gulin has promoted Shanghai to many friends and served as their tour guide.
"I had many people visiting me, like many friends and my family, and they still haven't seen everything of Shanghai," she said with a smile.
"I really hope people will come and visit Shanghai because it's such an interesting city. Even if you spend five days here, there is not enough time to see all the interesting things."
It was the first time of Kiseka Ronald, from Uganda, to be present at the opening ceremony.
"The festival is very awesome and I feel very happy," he said.
"I love the Bund, the Shanghai Financial Center, also the cruise, which is convenient and beautiful. People are lovely here and buildings are very beautiful."
There are activities galore.
The opening ceremony, in four chapters, featured 19 festooned boats, 16 colorful floats, and 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, showcasing Shanghai's scenery and charm in a panoramic way.
For the first time, the float show, a highlight of the opening ceremony, was held along the Huangpu River with classic scenes of the festival replicated.
The floats will tour around the five "new cities" and 11 districts, and be displayed around the Dishui Lake in the Lingang Special Area during the National Day holiday.
"The festival will vividly demonstrate the unique charm and splendor of Shanghai," Fang Shizhong, director-general of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, told a press conference earlier.
"It will attract an increasing number of foreign tourists to enjoy the fun of travel in the city toward the goal of making Shanghai the first stop in China for them."
During the festival, a cultural and tourist feast will be cooked up with a number of festival events such as the Fuxing Art Festival and the Bund Architecture Festival.
At iconic attractions such as the Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Tian An 1000 Trees, dubbed the city's Hanging Gardens of Babylon, light and shadow shows will be staged. Virtual reality art pop-up shops and exhibitions of metaverse multimedia series are also on the agenda.
A parade of festooned boats on Suzhou Creek, an international tea culture tourism festival in Jing'an District, and a Mid-Autumn Festival garden party at Guilin Park filled with sweet-scented osmanthus are planned as well.
The Huaihai Road will release city walk routes, while consumption coupons will be delivered in Nanjing Rd W., Suhe Bay and Daning business areas.
In Changning District, bazaars combining sports, culture and commerce elements will be hosted.
For sports enthusiasts, there will be rowing, snooker, Chinese chess, orienteering, soccer, and auto games and competitions throughout the festival.
The "world-class parlor" is ready to welcome tourists from all over the globe to experience a modern, magic and miracle city and explore its charm and enjoy the fun of tourism.