Tourism industry shines a bright light on Shanghai's growth and internationalization
High-quality growth, the most-mentioned phrase during the Two Sessions, will keep guiding China's new route of development. As a bellwether city, Shanghai takes a model role in mapping out growth of high quality, and here is what we find in the shining tourism industry!
The ongoing 2023 Shanghai Tourism Festival, the city's annual tourism extravaganza, is a spectacular party in the city with mass public participation and a splendid event for tourists from home and abroad.
Between September 16 and October 6, more than 200 diverse activities will be held throughout the city as part of the festival "Light Up the World-Class Parlor."
It is now in its 34th edition and has a fresh new look with the goal of making Shanghai a world-famous tourism destination and the first stop in China for inbound travelers.
"The festival will vividly demonstrate Shanghai's unique charm and splendor and attract an increasing number of foreign tourists to enjoy the fun of travel in the city," said Fang Shizhong, director-general of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism.
Shanghai has introduced a number of new routes, inviting visitors to discover the city's hidden gems and immerse themselves in its culture.
Following these paths, you can take a leisure stroll on Chinese-parasol-leaf-blanketed streets amid a cluster of historic villas, taste culinary delight at local restaurants and cafés with a variety of options, and go on a shopping spree at time-honored brands or numerous fashion and trendy businesses along the streets.
"Shanghai is amplifying the promotion impact of international culture and tourism festivals on city image and spurring consumption, thus fueling the construction of an international consumption center and a world-famous tourist destination," Fang stated.
A fascinating destination for foreign guests
The festival has proved its popularity by attracting a large number of foreign participants and demonstrating its international dimension.
CHU JINGTUNG from Malaysia witnessed the glitz and glam of traditional Chinese dragon boats in Fengxian District and learned about the culture and history of kite flying in China during a kite tourist event in the district.
The celebration took wing in Fengxian District, with kites of all shapes and sizes filling the sky.
"This is the first time I'm trying dragon boat rowing, and it's a really good and fun experience," Shanghai Institute of Technology student CHU JINGTUNG told Shanghai Daily. "It is not an easy job, but I grasped the skills quickly."
"During the teamwork, I made friends with some Shanghainese, which is very good."
"These kites are very beautiful, and I am amazed by a dragon-shaped one," she added. "Kite flying itself is very interesting."
She arrived in Shanghai just a few days ago.
"The city is very beautiful, and the air is very clean," she commented. "There are lots of automatic services, which are impressive."
"Shanghai is the most beautiful city I've ever seen, with its stunning architecture, streets, and parks," said Paliuka Nastassia, from Russia. "Everything is beautiful. There are a lot of foreigners also, so I have the chance to talk with people from other countries, which is pretty nice."
Nastassia spends her spare time making videos to promote Shanghai to her family and friends back home.
Franka Gulin from Croatia finds the heritage structures to be her favorite part of Shanghai.
"The preservation of history is truly remarkable," she said.
Every few weeks, you can discover new historic structures and the stories behind them.
Gulin enjoys strolling around the city in her leisure time. "There are many interesting places in Shanghai," she said.
Gulin has promoted Shanghai to acquaintances and friends and acted as their tour guide.
"I've had many friends and family members visit me, and they still haven't seen everything in Shanghai," she said with a smile.
"I sincerely hope that people will visit Shanghai because it is such a fascinating city. Even if you stay here for five days, there is not enough time to see everything of interest.
Kiseka Ronald, from Uganda, is an avid admirer of the metropolis. He is a performer at the Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park.
"I love the Bund, the Shanghai Financial Center, and the cruise, which is convenient and beautiful," he said. "The people are lovely here, and the buildings are very beautiful."
According to the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, between January and July of this year, 1.58 million visitors from abroad visited Shanghai, an increase of 410.8 percent from the same period last year and the highest in the country.
Fang observed that the city's inbound tourism market has demonstrated a positive trend of accelerated recovery.
He stated that Shanghai will continue to optimize its inbound tourism environment and attract more international visitors through large-scale festive events such as the Shanghai Tourism Festival, China Shanghai International Arts Festival, and Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week.
Fang added that the goal is to make the city the first stop for tourists entering China.
The city will improve its inbound tourism service by maximizing its 144-hour transit visa exemption policy and departure tax refund scheme for international visitors.
Fang added that it will increase the convenience of payment and customs clearance for incoming visitors.
A cultural and tourist feast is being prepared for the festival, with a number of festival activities, such as the Fuxing Art Festival and the Bund Architecture Festival, allowing tourists to experience the city's hidden beauties.
Sixteen colorful floats will be paraded around the Dishui Lake in the Lingang Special Area during the National Day weekend, touring the five "new cities" and 11 districts.
Light and shadow shows will be the added attractions at the Shanghai Tower, Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and Tian An 1000 Trees, dubbed the city's Hanging Gardens of Babylon. There will also be virtual reality art pop-up shops and exhibitions of metaverse multimedia series.
A parade of decorated boats will cruise on Suzhou Creek, an international tea culture tourism festival will be held in Jing'an District, and a Mid-Autumn Festival garden party at Guilin Park will be packed with sweet-scented osmanthus.
The Huaihai Road will open pedestrian routes, and consumption coupons will be distributed in the business districts of Nanjing Rd W., Suhe Bay, and Daning.
Bazaars mixing sports, culture, and commerce will be held in Changning District.
There are plans to hold rowing, snooker, Chinese chess, orienteering, and soccer tournaments.
The Shanghai Rolex Masters, a much-anticipated ATP 1000 tournament, will return on an expanded scale on October 2 at the Qizhong Tennis Center in Minhang District after a three-year absence.
A cultural trip with a magnificent mix of music, architecture, history, fashion, and delectable delicacies began recently at the Hengshan-Fuxing Roads (Hengfu) Historic Protection Zone in Xuhui District and will run until October 6.
In its tenth year, the Fuxing Art Festival, an iconic event of the Shanghai Tourism Festival and the Hengfu Golden Autumn Shopping Season, is inviting residents and tourists from across the world to experience the zone's distinct beauty.
The historic protection zone has a collection of stunning ancient villas, tree-lined sidewalks, stylish cafes and restaurants, and a relaxed environment.
In the region, more than 40 pop-up performances ranging from jazz and folk music to Zumba are produced, allowing visitors to experience the flavor of haipai (Shanghai-style) culture.
Shanghai's "world-class parlor" welcomes visitors to explore its charm and enjoy the pleasures of tourism in a modern and wonderful city.