Big data shows why tourists love Shanghai

Tavel website uses big data to analyse the online behavior of prospective visitors to the city

A report based on big data analysis of the online activities by free independent tourists (FIT) by travel website Mafengwo in conjunction with the China Tourism Academy has revealed the five most popular tourist destinations in Shanghai to be Tianzifang, the Bund, the City Temple, Nanjing Road pedestrian mall and Yu Garden.

Searches, bookings, inquiries, etc. for Shanghai destinations through Mafengwo more than doubled last year compared 2016, a surge credited to a forward-looking tourism development strategy for the Yangtze River Delta region. 

"Integrated tourism Development in the delta region has brought new opportunities for Shanghai's tourist industry," said analyst Feng Rao.

"The region has distinctive cultural features, And Shanghai is strongly complementary with cities in neighboring provinces in what they can offer to tourists," said Feng. "Residents of cities in the delta region are also making more frequent visits to other cities for leisure purposes ."

Changzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Suzhou and Wuxi, all within easy striking distance of Shanghai, are major sources of visitors to the city, according to the report. 

The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and Xintiandi were also hot destinations among FIT Travelers last year. 

The rich and diverse attraction in neighboring cities also boosted Shanghai's popularity, with the excellent intercity traffic a big convenience to tourists. 

"Neighborhood tours" was the most searched-for term, with Disney, Huangpu River Night tour, parent-child, Shanghai delicacy, and sightseeing bus also popular searches. 

The summer vacation and Qingming Festival in April were the main activity periods for independent travelers using Mafengwo to plan their trip to Shanghai.

About 25 percent of travelers chose hotels at People's Square and Nanjing Road pedestrian mall making the area the most popular option, followed by Lujiazui and Yu Garden.

Rooms at three-star hotels in the Yu Garden area were the most expensive, reaching 486 yuan (US$71) per night, compared with 334 yuan at People's Square and 272 yuan at Lujiazui. Five-star hotels in Lujiazui were the most expensive, however, reaching 1,245 yuan per night.

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