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Shanghai’s efforts to build a world tourism city with global influence

Feb 23, 2018

The Shanghai Municipal Government’s Information Office held a press conference on January 31, 2018, on the city’s efforts to build a world tourism city with global influence. Following are the highlights:

Chen Qun, vice mayor, Shanghai People’s Government

Xu Weiwan, director, Shanghai Tourism Administration

Xinmin Evening News: Since the improvement of the 20 comprehensive tourism service centers has been listed in the 2018 government projects, I would like to ask what benefits will the project bring to local residents?

Xu Weiwan: The Shanghai Municipal Government has incorporated the 20 comprehensive tourism service centers into the 2018 government projects, which shows the city’s friendly attitude towards tourists. Just now Vice Mayor Chen mentioned that Shanghai already has 55 city-level tourism service centers; this upgrade is actually an improvement for the service centers. The centers used to interact with tourists in providing them with information, this time they have been upgraded. Other than information, now they can provide tourists with other service items, such as rooms for mother and infants and free Wi-Fi.

The second upgrade is that the centers have become smarter. Now we are considering incorporating the service centers’ tourist information function into the construction of a smart city. For example, the information can be put on mobile apps, turning tourists’ mobile phone into a navigator, and electronic tour guide.

The third upgrade is to make the centers more tourist-friendly, which can be integrated into the renovation of tourists’ restrooms. We hope we can renovate the centers as well as the restrooms and upgrade their functions, and turn the tourism information booths into comprehensive tourism service centers.

Chen Qun: I would like to add something. The detailed plans are still being worked out, we will consider using artificial intelligence, and provide foreign tourists with multiple language services. I think it’s a very good opportunity, we welcome advice and suggestions on building really popular tourism service centers that can become the city’s icons.

Xinhua News Agency: Shanghai is striving to build itself into an international tourist destination city. I would like to know what’s the difference between Shanghai and other tourist cities such as New York and London? And what improvements will Shanghai make?

Chen Qun: Building a world famous tourist city with global influence is the strategic goal of Shanghai’s “13th Five-Year Plan”, and it is also a priority in Shanghai’s aim of building “five centers” and turning itself into an excellent metropolis. The city has laid a solid foundation for tourism after many years of sustained efforts, and Shanghai enjoys a global reputation and ranks in the world’s top 10 tourist cities, according to organizations such as Trip Advisor, World Travel Awards etc. To be fair, Shanghai still has a lot of improvements to make in quality tourism products, the internationalization of tourism markets, and high-end talent pool when compared to New York, Paris, London, and Tokyo.

For example, the inbound tourist number is highly valued in the tourism industry, and Shanghai’s inbound tourist number reached a historical record of 8.73 million last year, but still there is a big gap compared to the abovementioned cities. New York had reached 10 million inbound tourists long ago. Next we will take measures to further upgrade Shanghai’s tourism industry level. We will increase the city’s supply of quality tourism products and develop Shanghai’s leisure vacation industry. Shanghai will also work hard to increase its global recognition as a tourist destination city, as proposed by the Shanghai Tourism Administration. As I mentioned earlier, we will provide multilingual services to foreign tourists, and further facilitate the processes of departure tax rebate, which will be our priorities in 2018.

Another important aspect that not only Shanghai but the whole tourism industry in China needs to heed is the promotion of our tourism image. We are in possession of great resources and conditions that so many foreign tourists aren’t aware of, many of whom only know about the real Shanghai when they are actually here. Next I think we should take measures, including the newest promotion channels, to better promote Shanghai. This year Shanghai will host the China International Import Expo, which can be a great opportunity to promote Shanghai through its quality services and high-end facilities. Thank you.

Shanghai Daily: Many foreign tourists have suggested that the tourism service centers introduce travel products such as one-day trips or three-day trips like they have in their home countries. We know that many foreign tourists have such demands. I would like to know whether Shanghai will introduce such measures or services to meet the foreign tourists’ need? Thank you.

Thank you for your question. Statistics for 2017 show that the number of inbound tourists to Shanghai has been on the rise and it is estimated that the increase speed will stay at 2 percent in the future. As China is becoming ever more enticing in the global tourism market and, Shanghai being the window to China, we have great faith in Shanghai to be a host city for travelers from all over the world. In the meantime, we should be prepared for the renovation of the tourism service centers, and increase the centers’ intelligence, and the ability to serve foreign tourists from around the world. This not only requires us to train our tourism service personnel on their language ability and service quality, but more importantly, we should add multilingual service contents with intelligent equipment.

This also includes the establishment of tourism signage system in Shanghai to make travelling in the city more easy and friendly for foreign tourists. An increasing number of tourists not only visit tourist spots and attractions, they are also choosing to go to less well-known places such as local alleyways. Overall, Shanghai is a city with rich tourism resources and attractions, such as the Bund, where there are so many foreign-style architectures; the old foreign-style houses, and Shikumen. We need to improve and perfect our signage system, and we are open to the public’s advice and suggestions.

Also, we will have a series of promotion campaigns for Shanghai in many countries, it’s an important part of this year’s government work. The campaigns can be integrated into the Belt and Road national strategy, and prioritize the cooperation between Shanghai’s tourism and other Belt and Road juncture cities. We can first entice tourists from belt and road countries to Shanghai, and we welcome guests from belt and road countries to see the city that is leading China’s opening-up and reforms.

In the meantime, we will cooperate with other Yangtze River Delta cities to introduce travel products. Shanghai is located among the city cluster of the Yangtze River Delta Region, and our main products will specialize in urban tourism. Jiangsu Province’s attractions will be its waters, Zhejiang Province’s attractions will be its traditional Chinese paintings and arts, and we hope the products can promote the Yangtze Delta Region, and we want tourists to set Shanghai as their first destination in the region. Just now mayor Chen mentioned that the China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai this year, and the Shanghai Tourism Administration will take this opportunity to promote the city’s tourism to guests from around the world. We will ensure the logistics and security unit of the Expo will make every tourist to China feel welcome and enjoy Shanghai’s hospitality, and experience the city’s culture, and ecology.

China News Service: How many major tourism projects are under construction in Shanghai? And how is the construction for the Chongming Ecoisland progressing?

Shanghai’s tourism has received much public attention. Ever since the Disney Resort opened in Shanghai, it has created spillover effects. The next tourism project to be finished is the Haichang Ocean Park, while the Ice Kingdom is under construction, also located in Lingang area; tourists will be able to indulge in many kinds of activities on ice when it’s finished. Another project that is under construction is the Shanghai Planetarium, also the branch museum of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, which is also located in Lingang area. Shanghai has many similar projects.

Among the ecological projects, I have been paying close attention to the progress of construction at the Guangfulin Site of the Ancient Culture Park in Shanghai Sheshan National Tourist and Holiday Resort, which will be open soon. Also, other projects have received wide public attention, such as the Sheshan Shimao Quarry Hotel. Regarding the Chongming Ecoisland you just mentioned, its Xisha Mingzhu Lake scenic spot is applying for national 5A scenic spot rank. We have been constructing the area with 5A scenic spot’s standards, and we have made certain improvements to its service facilities and environment, and we have made better tourist interaction projects. At the same time, we will accelerate the tourism supply full chain expansion from just scenery to tourism products and service. We will build the Jiangnan island culture into interactive projects that can be popular with tourists and locals.

Chongming has already released details of projects that have been initiated this year, which is to build a round-the-island landscape avenue, which has been mentioned in the government work report. The avenue can be really beneficial to locals, we hope to turn it into the most beautiful country scenery avenue, and it can also increase the overall quality of Chongming’s tourism. When it is finished, it can provide locals a place to rest, take leisure trips, and enjoy a vacation. I hope the public can keep following the construction progress of Shanghai tourism’s projects.

Chen Qun: Chongming has also built many sports facilities. In the future, Chongming could well be Shanghai’s best district with a combination of leisure trip destinations and sports venues.

Hong Kong Ta Kung Wen Wei Media Group: Just now you mentioned you will provide excellent tourism products; could you elaborate on how Shanghai will make full use of public space along the 45-kilometer Huangpu River bank and make it a fine tourism product for both domestic and foreign tourists? What measures will be taken? Thank you.

Xu Weiwan: Since the 45-kilometer long bank of Huangpu River was connected into one, residents and tourists from home and abroad have paid a lot of attention to it, wishing to feel the history and environment of Shanghai’s mother river. It will be a new challenge in designing tourism products as currently we are mainly focusing on water sightseeing lines on the Huangpu River, especially at night. Since the new development the route is much longer now and the landscape during daytime much more beautiful, we are considering three types of routes for tourists: short, middle and long range. Currently we are inviting parties to design and make new water tourism products. In the future it’s possible to have a long range route from Fuxing Island to Lupu Bridge; the middle range route might be from Yangpu to the International Fashion Center to Lupu Bridge. Of course, we will still have cruises along the Huangpu River during daytime and night.

The second challenge is the way for tourists on the banks of the Huangpu. Originally when tourists from home and abroad come to Shanghai, they usually do sightseeing on boats, now it’s possible for them to have sightseeing on the banks as well. So we need to further develop new tourism products. We are doing some research on service facilities, sightseeing spots, transportation hubs for tourist groups and individuals, signs, toilets, parking spaces and service spots for public bikes.

The third is the connection between water and bank tourist routes. We aim to make it into a world-class tourist destination, which will be convenient for tourists to get on and get off boats. We will coordinate with related departments to provide tourists with a better experience. Ultimately we hope to provide world-class tourism routes with good coordination, and tourists can have sightseeing during daytime and night with long, short and middle range routes.

Meanwhile we hope to improve the guide work. In addition to the Bund, we will explore industrial relics, the history of reform, the new museums and exhibition halls along the banks. We also will do a lot of work and provide training for tour guides.

Under the leadership of the municipal government we are upgrading the functions of wharfs and cruise boats. The Shanghai Transport Commission has done a great job to design cruise boats with better image effects. In the next step we will strengthen cooperation with the transport commission to improve the internal functions of the cruise ships. We plan to improve the catering service on the boats to make them more suitable for conventions with more entertainment facilities. We plan to equip the boats with the most advanced virtual reality systems so that visitors can have a better experience. Thank you.

Great Sports: I just saw the work plan in which Shanghai aims to develop excellent tourism as the next step. Shanghai hosts a lot of top sports events, especially in the last two years when IP integration was frequent. What functions of sports tourism will you have in the plan? What concrete measures will you take? In addition, the promotion of sports tourism is relatively independent, what coordination will you make in the new work, what are your plans for the next stage?

Chen Qun: Based on our statistics, the high-level sports events have had an obvious impact on tourism in Shanghai, so the combination of sports and tourism will be one of the key works for us.

Xu Weiwan: The integration of sports and tourism is an important part; actually it’s more than important. From the point of view of integration of sports and tourism, we are grateful that there are so many sports events and international competitions in Shanghai. The sports events attract a lot of visitors to Shanghai, so we pay a lot of attention to the work with cooperation from the sports administration.

We plan to have joint promotion as major events are very attractive and they are part of the tourist destination attractions. We will prepare a leaflet on sports events in Shanghai for international travelers. In recent years we have actively promoted sports tourism and achieved very good effects. For example we have been cooperating with the sports administration to promote sports tourism in Shanghai overseas with Formula One. For tourists visiting Shanghai for F1 we will introduce one-day packages or tourist destinations nearby so that they will have a better experience in the city. In addition to F1, we will also develop related tourism with golf, snooker and tennis events, all these events can attract more high-level tourists to Shanghai. In 2018 we plan to strengthen the work to promote the city and nearby areas to overseas visitors.

Another thing we can do is to try to host a carnival during major sports events, which are attractive to both professional and amateur audiences. The Shanghai Marathon has been popular among visitors, and they hope to join interactive activities. We hope to host similar activities with the sports administration in the future. So far we have held carnival activities before F1, and we hope to have a package of activities this year.

Jiefang Daily: We have noticed that the increase in the number of visitors received by Shanghai cruise home-port has softened, what do you think of this phenomenon? What measures will Shanghai take to accelerate the development of cruise tourism?

Xu Weiwan: Cruise tourism in Shanghai has attracted the attention of people from all walks of society, and it has become No. 1 in Asia and is No. 4 in the world. We are striving to be No. 3 in the world. In 2018 the cruise wharf will be able house four cruise ships instead of two at the same time, which will expand Shanghai’s capacity in cruise tourism significantly. Although the increase in tourists has declined, the industry is shifting from quantity to quality. In 2018 we will do two things in the setting up of test area for cruise tourism: one is to promote cruise ship tickets directly from cruise ship to customers, which will be the first in China, and the other is we are drafting standards for Chinese cruise tourism to regulate the industry and service.

From the cruise shipping industry itself, we will pay attention to the extension of the industry chain. On the one hand we will cooperate with Baoshan District to develop ship supply in Shanghai to raise market share. The supply of water, food, maintenance and making of cruise ships are very important, we will try to expand the industry chain, which is at the start-off stage in Shanghai.

We are also discussing the manufacturing of cruise ships, which is still non-existent in China. We are doing preparatory work at Waigaoqiao in Shanghai. As far as we can see, the slowdown is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead it is an opportunity for us to improve. Thank you. Recently in the summary of complaints on tourism service in 2017, online service providers received a lot of complaints, what measures will Shanghai take to regulate online tourism service?

Xu Weiwan: Online tourism service is very important to Shanghai as basically all the OTA enterprises are based in Shanghai, including, the popular online tourism portal in China. We have noticed that the complaints on online service providers are increasing slowly, and from the point of view of the whole nation, the number of complaints has been rising significantly. At the end of last year we joined hands with the National Tourism Bureau to deal with the online tourism service quality. And in 2018 we will continue to focus on the issue. We will join hands with related departments to strengthen law enforcement. Apart from the large OTA enterprises, there are a lot of unlicensed websites selling illegal tourism products at extremely low prices. Some of them even have their servers overseas or other parts of China. In recent years we have cracked down on some illegal enterprises and we will continue to do so. We will cooperate with online tourism service providers to provide transparent, reasonable and open information for clients. We have ordered to abandon the practice of cross-sales and we welcome tourists to supervise their rectification. We feel leading enterprises in the industry in Shanghai should behave well and demonstrate this.

Just now mayor Chen mentioned that we should provide quality tourism products for visitors, and first of all the tourism enterprises should be creditworthy and civilized, it’s very important, thank you.

Wenhui Daily: The Spring Festival of 2018 will arrive soon, what cultural and folk activities has Shanghai prepared and what will their characteristics be for the holiday this year?

Xu Weiwan: Shanghai has been a popular destination for visitors for years during Spring Festival. First of all we have lantern celebrations in Yuyuan Garden. This year is the Year of the Dog, so there will be a lot of lanterns in the shape of dog; I promise you they are very beautiful. In addition we have prepared a large lantern show at Yuyuan Garden featuring landscapes in China. Yuyuan Garden has done a lot of preparations. The lantern celebration will be open to public from February 1 to March 5, and from March 2 to 5 the area will be closed with admission tickets available. The lantern celebration will cover the whole Spring Festival and will be open to public every night during the time, which is the most important celebration. Apart from this, every district will have its own folk activities, including Botanic Garden, Guchun Garden and Century Park. Chongming Island and Jinshan District will invite visitors to try their local food and take part in folk activities.

In short, we hope visitors can enjoy their time and have a happy holiday. We sincerely hope visitors will join the activities and enjoy a happy holiday in Shanghai, especially at Disneyland and on both banks of the Huangpu River.

Meanwhile we will make sure the holiday is safe. We hope visitors can choose enterprises with good quality and credit records instead of low price to avoid being cheated, about which we remind all visitors before the Spring Festival.