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Pandas prove more popular than ever

Reporter: Laura Schmitt 丨 CCTV.com

10-29-2016 12:57 BJT

No trip to Chengdu would be complete without pandas.

Pandas. You'll find them in every corner of Chengdu. The capital of Sichuan province has become synonymous with the black and white bears that are one of China's favourite mascots; their popularity constantly on the rise, particularly in 2016.

The National Holiday saw an unprecedented growth in tourist arrivals to the Panda Base in Chengdu. In just one week, over 337 000 visitors stopped by, an increase of 77% compared to the previous year.

This rise in visitor numbers is all the more remarkable, considering the previous years. In 2014 visitors increased by just over 20%. But this year more than four times as many visitors flocked to the base for a look.

"On September the 28th, right before the National Holiday, we introduced 23 newborns, and 'Fulai', one of the pandas, became a superstar when making its first appearance. This was certainly a reason. Most visitors’ first question was where they can see those 23 baby pandas," said Chen Cheng, media representative of Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

The impact of the Internet is considerable, since when it comes to the potential to go viral, these adorable bamboo-munchers certainly lead the pack. Fulai is just one of many to foray into the world of internet fame.

"New media is a very good channel to spread news. In the Internet age, with access to more information, people can learn more about pandas. And seeing them online, they are inspired to visit them here. That’s another reason for the increase," said Chen Cheng

The center has caught on and is making full use of professional photographers, live streams and social media.  Given this holiday’s flood of panda enthusiasts, this approach seems to be working. Though some of the bases’ inhabitants mostly seem pleased that things have returned to normal.

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