Shanghai braces for tourist flood

By Shi Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-16 08:24
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City seen as most popular destination for National Day

SHANGHAI - Shanghai is expected to be the most popular domestic tourist destination during the coming seven-day National Day holiday as tourists flood into the city to visit the Expo 2010 Shanghai in its last month.

The National Tourism Administration has forecast that 210 million tourists will travel domestically during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays.

Zhu Chengrong, a senior official with the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration, predicted that the city will receive more than 8 million tourists during the National Day holiday, which starts on Oct 1, up about 40 percent from last year, according to a report by China Tourism News.

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"There is no doubt that Shanghai will be the most popular destination during this year's National Day holiday," said Mao Weihai, a department manager of Shanghai Business Holiday Travel Service Company.

He said his company has been receiving at least 2,000 tourists heading for Shanghai every day in the past few months, and the number will "surge for sure during the holiday".

Mao said the traditionally hot tourist destinations during the National Day holiday, such as Southwest China's Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, might have fewer visitors this year.

"The frequent natural calamities such as landslides and droughts haunting these places have intimidated some tourists from going there," he said. "Among all lines operated by our company, the ones heading for Southwest China may have the biggest economic losses this year."

The blooming tourism market in Shanghai has helped stimulate the markets in neighboring places such as Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. Mao said most travel agencies are expecting to see their profits in these lines at least double this year.

"They have made almost two years' worth of profits from the Jiangsu and Zhejiang lines," he said.

Shanghai braces for tourist flood

However, as tourists flood into Shanghai, local residents have found overseas travel lines a good alternative to evade the swarm of people. Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan are popular as usual, and Turkey and Egypt have seen a growing popularity among tourists this year.

"I started planning my National Day holiday trip to Jeju Island in South Korea almost one month in advance. But the competition for a reservation with a travel agency is really intense," said a purchasing agent surnamed Wan working with a US-funded furniture company in Shanghai.

"The price that I saw on one day was no longer available a day later. Finally I had to book the four-day trip at 4,400 yuan ($650), almost 1,000 yuan higher than the price I saw one month ago," Wan said.

Mao from Shanghai Business Holiday Travel Service Company said because more travelers are expected to make trips during the coming holiday, the prices for almost all domestic travel lines have increased by an average of 20 percent compared with the same period last year.

China Daily