Suzhou Creek cruises resume as Shanghai tourism recovers from pandemic
Cruises will resume on Suzhou Creek, known as the mother river of the city, in September, connecting several cultural and tourist attractions.
Fang Shizhong, director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, mapped out the city's post-pandemic cultural and tourism development blueprint in a radio program on Tuesday.
The route will connect eight piers: Waitanyuan (the origin of the Bund), Sihang Warehouse, the iconic "Tian An 1000 Trees," Xikang Road, Mengqing Garden, Zhongshan Park, Changfeng Park and Danba Road.
"We plan to create a 'floating parlor on water' by launching this service," said Fang.
The cruises will mainly serve group tourists at first and then open to individuals.
"The cruises will enable people to appreciate the scenery along the creek and take a stroll at a number of attractions onshore," said Fang.
"Based on our research, there are 205 venues with cultural and tourist value along the creek."
The Sihang Warehouse Battle Memorial, the Zhapu Road Bridge, Tian An 1000 Trees, the Fuxin Flour Mill and the former site of the Shanghai Brewery are on the list.
"The cruise will allow passengers not only appreciate the city's enchanting scenery, but also savor its history, culture and art," said Fang.
Digital coupons are also being distributed in the city to boost the cultural and tourism industry. And a three-year metaverse development plan will be released soon to help the sector.
The sector was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and a revitalization action plan is being implemented to fuel spending and help the industry's 500,000 workers get through the impact of the pandemic, said Fang.
In Jinshan District, digital cultural and tourism coupons worth 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) have been distributed.
The city's annual Double Five shopping festival and the Shanghai Tourism Festival will be held, according to Fang.
"The aim is to spur the city's cultural and tourist spending," he said.
New tourism programs focused on the five "new cities," industrial attractions, ancient towns and villages are being developed, and tours involving Huangpu River, Suzhou Creek and historic buildings are being upgraded.
"Safety and quality have become the priority under the impact of COVID-19," said Fang.
"And people are turning to destinations near their homes.
"Moreover, people are pursuing immersive tourism and cultural experiences blending the virtual and the real.
"All these changes require high-quality cultural and tourism consumption supply and digital upgrades in the cultural and tourism industry to make it more resilient."
Many cultural and tourist metaverse scenes and standards will be released to bring fresh experiences to tourists, said Fang.
The Shanghai Digital Culture and Tourism Center will be established in Xujiahui area this year.