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How will Disney Shanghai impact regional tourist market?


06-15-2016 13:44 BJT

Shanghai Disneyland will officially open to visitors tomorrow. How will the theme park impact the regional tourism market?

Shanghai is China’s most modern and dynamic city. It attracts hundreds of millions of tourists every year.

People can go to the Bund to learn about the former glory of the old Shanghai as a center of commerce between east and west during the 1930s. And see the extensive Lujiazui skyline, just across the Huangpu river. A symbol of China's new rise after massive reforms and its opening up campaign. Measures that have made the city an international financial center.

The Oriental Pearl Tower has been one of Shanghai's most famous landmarks for the past two decades. It is a must-see tourist spot. And just besides the tower, Disney has set up its flagship store. Tourists are queuing up to get into the store ahead of the theme park's official opening. Sometimes the line can stretch up to one kilometer. You can just imagine how crazy people are about getting into the the theme park itself. Disneyland is sure to become the next must-see tourist destination in Shanghai.

Disneyland means a lot to Shanghai, as the local government hopes the magical land and the surrounding resorts can help boost the city’s reputation as a world-class tourist destination.

"Shanghai has invested heavily in its tourism sector over the years. Besides upgrading infrastructure and facilities, the local government has also made great efforts to create tourists spots like the Happy Valley, Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Bund. But the introduction of a project like Disneyland, with its global reputation, really means a lot to Shanghai's tourism sector," said professor Wu Bangtao, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Tourism has become a strong engine of growth for Shanghai. Chinese tourists made over 276 million trips to Shanghai in 2015. And over 8 million foreign tourists came to China's city. Together, they spent over 350 billion yuan, or 53 billion US dollars.
Disneyland is expected to bring in a lot more tourists -- and Shanghai is eager to cash in.

"Shanghai Disneyland will bring an extra flow of tourists to the local tourism market. This will bring more business to Shanghai’s restaurants, hotels, entertainment and shopping. It will also have spill over effects to the whole Yangtze River Delta region," Professor Wu Said.

The Yangtze River Delta region has some the most developed, populous and wealthiest urban areas in the country.
And modern entertainment complexes are making Shanghai an attractive destination for families from the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu.

Disneyland is also forcing Shanghai's entire tourism industry to reform.

"The Chinese tourism sector can learn how Disney builds up the branding of its theme parks. Especially on how to promote the integration of technology and tourism. How to incorporate China’s rich cultural background with tourism," Professor Wu Said.

With more choices available and more cash at hand, it’s still up to the tourists to make the final decision. And competition is certain to be fierce.

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