Attention to details can add to city's tourist appeal
As Shanghai is in full swing to build itself into an international cultural metropolis and world-famous tourism destination, some details are emerging as embarrassing and may mar tourist experience.
Most tourist attractions in Shanghai do not provide luggage deposit services, nor English audio guides.
Recently I called some major tourist attractions in Shanghai, and found only a few have both.
The landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower, a 5A (China’s top grade) national tourist attraction, has baggage deposit cabinets, but it does not provide English audio service.
The Shanghai Wild Animal Park, also one of the three 5A national tourist attractions in the city, allows tourists to store their luggage, but it only has English maps, without any English audio guide or even tour guide service in English.
The Shanghai World Financial Center does not provide luggage deposit service, nor English audio guide.
It only offers VIP tour guide service in English.
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has luggage deposit, but it does not provide any English guide services.
On the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, one of the most bustling and landmark shopping streets in Shanghai, and the Bund, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city, no luggage deposit cabinet can be found.
Only the Shanghai Tower and Shanghai Museum have both.
This is not the case with many overseas tourist destinations.
In Japan, for example, people can pay for luggage deposit services at reasonable prices at railway stations, shopping malls and tourist attractions.
It saves tourists’ trouble of rushing to hotels upon arrival and before departure, allowing them to travel with ease and comfort.
This oversight, insignificant as it seems, might dampen tourists’ enthusiasm for consumption if they have to carry heavy items on hand while shopping.
“I don’t want to travel with luggage, but if I have to drop luggage at my hotel, it would take more than an hour for a round trip,” said Li Minlei, a tourist from Anhui Province. She was traveling in the Bund while her hotel was in Xuhui District.
“Such service will be useful for sure as foreign tourists, Western especially, enjoy traveling by themselves,” said Celine Chanut from France.
Shanghai has become a popular tourist destination. In 2018, it received 8.9 million inbound tourists.
The city had 10.37 million visitors during the weeklong National Day holiday, and tourism-related revenue hit 11.5 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion), up 11.8 percent from the same period last year.
As urban night tours are developed, QR codes giving information in Chinese and English could be seen on some historical buildings, and the quality of countryside homestays is improving.
But more effort is needed to enhance the tourist experience.