Shanghai tourism zone’s expansion plan OK’D
The Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone, which will include the Shanghai Disneyland theme park, will be bigger than initially planned after the municipal government approved an expansion plan in mid-December.
Located in the center of East Shanghai’s Pudong district, the zone will cover a total area of 24.7 square kilometers, compared with the 20.6 sq km initially planned.
The main area, covering about 7 sq km, will have the Disneyland theme park as its core as well as other tourism, cultural and retail areas. The remaining 17.7 sq km will mainly have support facilities.
There will be a station for subway lines 2 and 11 in the central area of the zone, and future plans for other subway lines around the area depend on passenger flow.
Pudong district authorities said that about 10 million tourists annually will visit the Disneyland theme park, which will provide great business opportunities to companies in neighboring areas.
The information office of the Shanghai municipal government said in a note posted on its Sina Weibo account that a new industrial development model will emerge after the establishment of the Disneyland theme park.
Meanwhile, as the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone is reaching further south, it’s getting geographically closer to the China ( Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Industry insiders believe that the combination of the two zones will help to attract overseas travel agencies, as the nation’s tourism industry is open to foreign investment in the form of joint ventures registered in the FTZ.
“We’re prepared for this kind of challenge,” said Mao Weihai, a sales manager at Shanghai Business Holiday Travel Service Co Ltd, adding that they’ve been preparing for the launch of the tourism zone for about 10 years.
Mao added that the establishment of overseas travel agencies is inevitable, first in the FTZ and then in other areas when those experiments become successful. And even though overseas travel agencies will enter the market in Shanghai in the form of joint ventures at the very beginning, the move will signal a shift in the country’s tourism industry, Mao said.
“As Chinese consumers become more sophisticated, they’re inclined to use the services of overseas travel agencies, which provide better services. Smaller domestic companies will be either eliminated or merged into larger groups,” he added.
Zhang Lei, an analyst at China Investment Securities Co Ltd, predicted that the growth of the tourism industry will remain robust in coming years.
“The urbanization drive, the growth of the population and organic economic growth will all help to increase the frequency of travel and the average consumption per capita. As the government policies remain supportive, the tourism industry will see a boost,” he said.
The Disney characters at a company event in Shanghai on Tuesday. The Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone, covering about 24.7 square kilometers, will have the Disneyland theme park as its core as well as other tourism, cultural and retail areas.