Hangzhou enticing non-natives to stay put over holiday
Hangzhou is offering 1,000 yuan (US$154) to every non-native who pays taxes in the city and stays put during the Spring Festival holiday.
In addition, the city is giving tourist incentives to encourage people to stay in town during the holiday. The local tourism department will launch more than 800 products and routes through early March.
These incentives include free admission to some local attractions, hotel discounts, free exhibitions, cultural activities, gastronome fairs and shopping festivals.
West Lake, Hangzhou’s golden calling card, is the most popular tourist attraction. The city’s management committee announced that all its scenic sites will be free for visitors who have the city’s temporary residence permit.
Reservations must be made through the Zhangshang Xihu app or West Lake Tourism and West Lake Scenic Area official WeChat accounts.Non-natives will be given a 50 percent discount for tour buses and cruise ships.
Renowned West Lake restaurants, including Louwailou Restaurant, Hupanju Teahouse and Mingshiyuan Restaurant, will offer discounted set meals which also require reservations, and visitors are required to provide the temporary residence permit upon arrival to enjoy the discount.
West Lake souvenir and gift shops will give non-natives 20 percent discounts.
Admission to Xixi Wetland is also free during the holiday but reservations are required. The management committee will provide discounted set meals and entertainment activities for employees who remain in the city.
Xixi Wetland is renowned for its picturesque reed beds. Because the reed flowers are withered and shallow bogs have dried out, fishing conditions are ideal. Visitors can rent wading suits worn by local fishermen, and the fish they catch can be cooked at local family-run restaurants.
During the holiday, the wanghong (Internet celebrity) restaurant Yao Yao Guo will feature two preferential set meals for non-natives.
People can enjoy fresh fish pots on traditional-style boats when cruising through the wetland’s streams, while taking in scenery that includes flying, paddling and diving birds, aquatic plants and reed marshes.
Due to stringent COVID-19 control policies, every entrance to West Lake and Xixi Wetland is equipped with digital thermometers and staffed with volunteers. Visitors must wear masks, show a green health code and have their temperatures checked before entering.
For those who want to avoid crowds, exhibitions and activities will be held to celebrate the festival with cultural activities and crafts.
Hangzhou Library has been dubbed “the third life space” — homes and offices being the first two — where people can indulge in their hobbies. During the holiday, the library will offer 32 offline and online activities, including book-reading lectures, traditional paper-cutting and calendar-making.
Official departments in districts and counties will host 300 cultural activities, 95 percent of which are free to non-natives.
Employees who stay in Hangzhou can receive digital consumption coupons. Designed to stimulate consumption, local authorities are partnering with Hangzhou Bank, China Construction Bank and China Agricultural Bank to issue coupons worth 30 million yuan, available through the banks’ apps.