Shanghai looks to boost inbound tourism with new campaign

Hu Min
The "Visit Shanghai" campaign to boost inbound tourism next year was launched on Monday, with seven foreign friends appointed as "Shanghai Global Tourism Ambassadors."
Hu Min

Directed by Ma Xuefeng. Shot by Ma Xuefeng, Sun Chao. Edited by Sun Chao. Reported by Gao Ceng, Zhou Anna. Subtitles by Sun Chao.

In line with the ancient Chinese saying, "It is always a pleasure to greet a friend from afar," Shanghai is warmly welcoming travelers from across the globe.

On Monday, the city launched the "Visit Shanghai" campaign to boost inbound tourism, and seven foreign friends from the Netherlands, Germany (two), Malaysia, Spain, Italy, and France were appointed as "Shanghai International Tourism Ambassador" by the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism.

Shanghai looks to boost inbound tourism with new campaign
Chen Xu / SHINE

A poster of "Shanghai International Tourism Ambassador"

During the launch ceremony in downtown Jing'an District, "Meet in Shanghai," the brand new 2024 culture and tourism promotion video of Shanghai, was screened, and calendars of culture, tourism, and sports activities for the coming year were released, delivering an invitation to global travelers to visit the city and experience its unique charm and splendor.

At the same time, the administration signed cooperation agreements with the Shanghai Global News Network (SGNN), a newly established initiative of Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG); SMG International; and the China Tourism Academy towards the goal of making Shanghai a world-famous tourist destination and the first stop in China for inbound travelers.

Under the agreements, the partners will jointly conduct promotion of Shanghai's international tourism image and relevant strategy research, targeting major source markets of the city's inbound tourists and local expatriates.

"Shanghai is not only an important window showcasing Chinese culture to the world, but also a strategic link of domestic and international dual circulation," noted Fang Shizhong, director general of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism. "Making Shanghai the first stop in China for inbound travelers is the top priority of the city's culture and tourism industry."

"The campaign to boost inbound tourism is a new starting point and we look forward to amplifying the global narrative, promoting Shanghai's international tourism image to the world, making the city an alluring destination for global travelers and attracting them to take in-depth tours in Shanghai to experience its modern, magic and miracle side."

Shanghai looks to boost inbound tourism with new campaign
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The launch of the "Visit Shanghai" campaign with the presence of "Shanghai International Tourism Ambassador"

An alluring destination and top option for inbound travelers

Shanghai has proved to be an alluring destination for inbound tourists. The city's inbound tourism market has shown a good momentum, recording 2.299 million visits in the first three quarters of this year, with the recovery level leading the nation. It is estimated that the city will record more than 3 million visits by inbound travelers by the end of this year.

From traditional delicacies such as xiaolongbao (small steamed buns) to the gorgeous scenery along the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek, Shanghai has been drawing an increasing number of global travelers, with its unique charm and spirit of inclusiveness, excellence, enlightenment, and modesty.

Tourists walk into Shanghai's longtang (lanes) and traditional shikumen (stone-gated) buildings that bear silent witness to the city's history, sip a cup of aromatic coffee at local cafes to taste its unique and charming coffee culture, and get overwhelmed by multiple spiritual purification and layered artistic context at various art venues across the metropolis. On city walks, they explore hidden local gems and are fascinated by Shanghai's culture and tourism splendor.

During Monday's event, the seven newly appointed "tourism ambassadors" received their certificates and shared their stories about Shanghai. They also learnt some Shanghai dialect.

Clarisse Le Guernic from France has been living in Shanghai since 2015. She first arrived in the city as an exchange student at the Chinese Studies Department of Fudan University and now serves as a tour guide and has even founded her own company.

"For me Shanghai is a diverse city with many different faces," she said. "It can be a megalopolis with skyscrapers, and at the same time it has a small but beautiful side such as longtang and small houses. It's the mix of all this that makes it a special and comfortable city to me!

"I love to explore all the hidden corners of Shanghai to find new spots, new stories and new secrets. I have many favorite places around the city. I love the area around Xintiandi, with beautiful old houses and plane trees. I love Hongkou, especially Luxun Park, it's full of life with people dancing and singing. I love the bridges on Suzhou Creek with beautiful views of modern Shanghai. In short: I love Shanghai!"

Shanghai's signature xiaolongbao is her favorite food.

"Shanghai has so much to offer and it's an accessible city for people who don't speak Mandarin. You can still find your way around with road signs and metro stations using English indicators. It is also a very nice city to have walks or cycle. The roads are nice and we can find a lot of green spaces. I will be more than happy to welcome my friends and show them the real image of Shanghai."

"I'm really honored to be a 'tourism ambassador' and I will continue to promote the city by doing tours and videos to tell the world the history of Shanghai and my love for the city!" she added.

Shanghai looks to boost inbound tourism with new campaign
Shen Xinyi / SHINE

Calendar of major culture, tourism and sports events in Shanghai in 2024

Mario Alonso, a Spanish concert pianist, has been living in the city for six years.

"Shanghai is a very convenient city, and you have everything you need here," he observed. "The city has lots of western restaurants, many art galleries, museums, concert halls, and everything related to music."

He has quite a number of favorite places like Yuyuan Garden, the Bund, Shanghai Disney Resort and Lujiazui.

In his spare time, Alonso likes walking around in the city.

"Sometimes, I have got lost, and encountered places I had never seen before. It's interesting for discovering new things you don't know. Shanghai is a very modern city and it also has a traditional side."

He also plans on promoting the city to his friends and relatives.

"I think Shanghai is one of the most friendly cities for tourists, from payment, shopping, and English signs, and everything is very welcoming for foreigners," Alonso pointed out.

"If someone comes to Shanghai for the first time, I will recommend Lujiauzui and Yuyuan Garden, and for those who visit the city more than once, they should go to more small places and I will invite them to go to concerts in Shanghai. I think they will love the food here, discovering Shanghai taste.

"I am very happy as there are many good policies now, like visa-free for Spanish travelers and there are daily direct flights from Madrid to Shanghai."

Marco Barbieri, the owner and chef of Da Marco Restaurant, calls Shanghai "his first home."

"I arrived here in 1995, and have spent more than half of my life here," he noted.

"Shanghai keeps changing and it's different from what it was when I first arrived, and I liked it then, and I like it now...I am very proud of the (ambassador) title and I will try my best to promote Shanghai, as I always do, to my friends, my relatives, and other Italians."

Shanghai looks to boost inbound tourism with new campaign
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Fang Shizhong (center), director general of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, Li Yun (right), director of Shanghai United Media Group, and Song Jiongming (left), president of Shanghai Media Group, witness the cooperation agreements signed among the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, Shanghai Global News Network and SMG International.

Activities galore and beefed-up efforts to raise inbound tourism service experience

Whether you are a gourmet, a travel enthusiast or an art buff, you will find something of interest in Shanghai in the coming year.

In 2024, the city will stage a slew of culture and tourism activities and sports events.

The "Star Shines China: Sanxingdui Ruins – Jinsha Ancient Shu Civilization Exhibition" at the Shanghai Museum's east branch and the "Prado Museum Collection Exhibition" at the Museum of Art Pudong are some heavyweight exhibitions to be staged in the city.

Festivals such as the Shanghai International Film Festival, the Shanghai Tourism Festival, and Music in the Summer Air will provide diversified options to travelers and enrich their travel experience, and giant sports events like ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships scheduled in January, Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in April, and Rolex Shanghai Masters (tennis) in October, are also on the agenda.

In 2024, Shanghai will continuously optimize its inbound tourism environment and attract more international tourists via grand festive events such as the Shanghai Tourism Festival, the China Shanghai International Arts Festival and the Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week, the administration said.

To prolong the overnight stays of inbound tourists and boost their consumption, the city will launch multi-layered and differentiated tourist itineraries, and develop a number of open metropolitan tourist attractions.

It will also raise inbound tourism service experience, giving full play to the city's departure tax refund scheme for overseas tourists, and further raise the convenience level of payment and customs clearance for inbound tourists, according to the administration.

Shanghai looks to boost inbound tourism with new campaign
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A group photo at the ceremony

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