Provinces in East China are gearing up their efforts to welcome back inbound tourists with open arms, following the resumption of normal cross-border travel. Recently, a group of 18 tourists from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region arrived at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, marking the revival of inbound tourism in the region.
“The last time I was in Hangzhou was in 2003,” said 74-year-old Wong Shuk-yee, a veteran actress in the group. She was thrilled to be back and excited to learn more about Hangzhou, especially West Lake, and try the authentic Dongpo pork and other specialties.
Over the next five days and four nights, the group will visit various tourist attractions in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, including West Lake, Lingyin Temple, and the newly restored Southern Song Dynasty Deshou Palace in Hangzhou.
The arrival of the group marks a significant milestone for the tourism industry in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, and the vast East China region, said He Junmin, an official with the Hangzhou bureau of culture, radio, TV, and tourism, at a reception ceremony on Wednesday night. He added that the city is committed to helping with the recovery of the tourism industry and spurring consumption.
Local authorities have introduced a raft of measures to encourage travel and spending in the region. For instance, Hangzhou’s Shangcheng district, where Deshou Palace is located, rolled out a 28-point policy package in early January offering free admission to all attractions in the first quarter. Travel agencies will be given up to 300,000 yuan ($43,800) if they can attract tour groups to the district and use its hotels.
More visitors from Hong Kong have visited the mainland since February 6, including 23 tourists who arrived in Qingdao of Shandong on Monday for a five-day tour as the province’s first inbound tourist group. The provincial capital Jinan also plans to resume inbound tourism and increase its efforts to attract tourists from home and abroad.
According to Su Wen, deputy head of the Jinan bureau of culture and tourism, the city will host a series of activities to attract tourists and provide subsidies to boost local tourism. In addition, Shandong has unveiled a package of measures to invigorate inbound tourism, including arranging 10 million yuan to subsidize tourism-related sectors and setting aside 20 million yuan to support tourism promotion in overseas markets.
With these initiatives, East China hopes to revive its tourism industry, bring back tourists, and boost the local economy, one visitor at a time.