Business recovers at tourist attractions
The Shanghai Consumer Council is suggesting a single tourism code at tourist attractions to improve efficiency and avoid repeated reservation and health QR code checks.
The suggestion followed council officials' visits to landmark scenic spots and business venues on Wednesday.
"Coronavirus prevention measures are necessary while improved practices such as a one-day tour code recognized by different tourist attractions in the city and more queuing channels will guarantee a more pleasant journey for visitors," said Tang Jiansheng, the council's deputy secretary-general.
"These will enable visitors, particularly tourists from out of town, to spare more time on travel and assist in the recovery of the whole tourism industry," he said.
At the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the Pudong New Area, Sun Qi, a tourist from Anhui Province, said her mobile phone lost signal, making her unable to access her reservation code. She tried to present a screenshot of her health QR code, but it was rejected.
"The Wi-Fi at the tower is not stable, making me unable to obtain real-time health QR code and reservation code," she said.
It took her almost 30 minutes to enter the tower using a hot-spot signal shared by others.
Other visitors said they spent around 20 minutes to get into the tower because of code and temperature checks in a queue of about 20 people.
Meanwhile, Shanghai's scenic spots and business venues are recovering steadily after reopening.
The TV tower said it now has more than 500 visitors a day during the week and over 1,000 at the weekend.
Wang Wei, a tourist from Hangzhou, neighboring Zhejiang Province, is on a three-day tour in Shanghai.
"I arrived in Shanghai with my girlfriend on Tuesday and have already visited Tianzifang and the Bund," Wang said on Wednesday.
"Shanghai's landscape is impressive and the prevention measures taken by tourist attractions make us feel relieved," he told Shanghai Daily.
At Xing Hua Lou, a restaurant dating back to 1851, most tables were fully occupied at lunchtime on Wednesday on the two floors it has opened for diners.
"The 24 tables are mostly full for both lunch and dinner," said Xu Yingjun at the restaurant's catering department.
The distance between each chair is at least a meter, and a table for 10 can accommodate a maximum of six at present. Every diner is required to have their temperature checked and to present their health QR code before entry.
"Diners are reminded to use one set of chopsticks to take food from communal dishes and another set to eat with, and we notice that almost all follow the principle," said Zhi Jing, deputy general manager of the restaurant.
It has launched four seasonal delicacies including river shrimps with fava beans, daoyu wonton and daoyu baiyebao (meat wrapped in bean curd skin).
Daoyu, or knife fish, is a rare freshwater fish from the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze River.
"We prepared semi-finished cuisines like daoyu wonton and dozens are sold out before lunchtime," said Xu.
"Other semi-finished dishes with seasonal ingredients such as spring shoots and malantou (kalimeris) are selling well with 50 boxes sold daily," he said.
Xu Fujun, a Shanghai retiree living in Huangpu District, bought a box of daoyu baiyebao and 20 steamed buns.
"I want to try the seasonal tastes, and semi-finished food is convenient for cooking," he said.
"Shanghainese have been eating food from old brands like Xing Hua Lou since childhood, and I trust the food safety of these brands," said Xu.
Xing Hua Lou has launched a new taste of qingtuan — cheese beef — this year. Qingtuan is a seasonal snack associated with the Qingming Festival, which falls on April 4 this year.
"More than 10,000 qingtuan of the new flavor are sold daily, and young people are major customers," said chef Zhang Jiquan.
However, the bestseller is still the restaurant’s star product — salted egg yolk and dried meat floss.
Nearly 100,000 a day are being sold at present, said Zhang.
Famed food store Shao Wan Sheng on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street is seeing signs of recovery.
"Our sales volume was 30,000 yuan (US$4,227) on the lowest day due to the epidemic, and our normal day minimum figure is 200,000 yuan," said Wang Weijie, the store's deputy general manager.
"The figure was even lower than that of our neighborhood outlets, which is 60,000 yuan daily, which shocked us," Wang said.
"Now, our daily sales volume has rebounded to 100,000 yuan, half of that in the past," he said.
"Marinated huangniluo, a kind of bubble snail, and liquor-saturated crab, the star products of our food store, are among the bestsellers," Wang said.
"We have also taken some self-rescue efforts like recipe videos and online channels because the epidemic delivered a heavy blow to the catering industry," said Wang.
At Yuyuan Garden Malls, more than 80 percent of businesses, including the 263-year-old Songhelou Restaurant and time-honored Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, have all reopened.
They are using both online and offline channels to recover and their online food delivery sales volume has grown 30 to 40 percent from the same period last year.
Visitors are required to present health QR codes and register on arrival at the malls.
At the iconic Huangpu River cruise tour, staff member Zhang Hua said the 45-minute tour has about 30 passengers on average at present.
"In the past, we received more than 100 for each tour. Although there is still a big gap of the current figure, the number of visitors is growing steadily, easing our concerns," she said.
"We have noticed a booming demand in consumption at present," the consumer council’s Tang said.
"However, there is still a big gap compared with the figures of the same period last year, but good signs have been observed," he said.
"The pandemic has changed consumers' habits and requires businesses to make adjustments accordingly, and it takes time for both the businesses and consumers to become accustomed," he said.
"Because of transportation limits, local people are the majority of consumers at tourist attractions and businesses at present, and we call on businesses to develop more commodities catering for local residents and adjust their strategies to the consumption iteration trend brought by the pandemic and make Shanghai business culture a shining name card of the city."