What's a little rain? Big ticket discounts provide a sunny spot

Thousands of people flocked to the city's most popular attractions on Saturday, with admission fees halved to mark China Tourism Day.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Huge crowds turn up at the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium in Pudong on Saturday as it offered half price entry for China Tourism Day. 

Rain on Saturday failed to dampen public enthusiasm for some of Shanghai’s most popular scenic spots as residents and tourists from out of town alike braved the weather to take advantage of half-price admission at 65 venues marking China Tourism Day.

At the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium in Pudong at midday, long queues snaked outside the building, with an average waiting time of one hour.

“The earliest tourists began arriving at 8am,” said a security guard surnamed Shen, who was on patrol in the Lujiazui area of Pudong. “Usually there is no waiting line, but we are crowded with people today.”

The aquarium, which normally opens at 9am, opened half an hour early to tackle the big crowds.

The number of visitors was equal to the summer holiday season, one aquarium worker said.

“It is my second visit here, and I had to wait 25 minutes,” said Lu Jia, a university student. “I came today because of the entry discount. A normal ticket price is very expensive.”

The admission fee to the aquarium is normally 160 yuan (US$25) for an adult and 110 yuan for a child.

Among those visiting on Saturday morning were Shi Weiteng and his wife plus daughter. The family, who live in the city’s suburban Minhang District, planned to also visit the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum in the afternoon to take advantage of the same ticket discount.

"The admission to most tourist attractions in China is very expensive,” Shi said. “Today, we three can save more than 200 yuan because of the discounts.”

The Lujiazui area is popular with tourists because of its large number of landmark attractions, including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Shanghai Tower, the Jinmao Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Center and the aquarium.

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, several steps from the aquarium, said it received 12,000 tourists on Saturday as of 4pm. That was equal to holiday numbers. At the peak of visitor arrivals, the waiting time stretched to two hours.

“I have never been to the tower, though it is a landmark of Shanghai, and I learned of the discount on the news,” said a middle-aged resident surnamed Cai. “The big crowds surprised me because it’s rainy today.”

Among the other tourism venues offering discounts on Saturday were the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in the city downtown area.

But some outdoor attractions, like the Shanghai Wild Animal Park and Shanghai Happy Valley, said the rain affected visitor numbers.

The China Tourism Day discounts at major venues have been offered since 2011.

Those who missed out on Saturday will have to wait for September, when major venues will again offer half-price discounts for a week during the annual Shanghai Tourism Festival.

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