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April 7, 2020

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Green Qingming Festival outing as visitors swarm local parks

Parks across Shanghai had more than 1.8 million visitors during the three-day Qingming Festival holiday, the city’s greenery authorities said.

That was around 49 percent fewer than the same period last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said.

The majority — 1.74 million — visited city parks while the rest went to countryside parks.

Though numbers were down, it was still a record for Shanghai’s parks since they reopened in early March.

A variety of flowers such as cherry blossom, wisteria, crabapple, magnolia and peony are now in full bloom, adding a splash of color to the city.

Century Park in the Pudong New Area limited visitors to 16,000 a day during the holiday and tickets soon sold out.

The park reopened on March 13 with half of its gates still closed.

Chenshan Botanical Garden in Songjiang District had 91,611 visitors over the three days, while Gongqing Forest Park in Yangpu District had 75,280 and Shanghai Botanical Garden in Xuhui District 32,000.

Shanghai Zoo had 30,958 visitors during the holiday, with the number on the first two days of the holiday almost double that of the previous weekend.

“The weather is pleasant and balmy, and I took my daughter to get close to nature and breathe fresh spring air,” said Guo Yuchen, who visited the zoo with the 8-year-old girl on Sunday.

“We have witnessed a number of new births, such as takin, zebra and black-backed jackal, when the zoo closed due to the coronavirus and these cubs are growing healthy,” said Chen Gang, an animal keeper at the zoo.

“Many visitors came here to see them.”

Yangpu Park, which is surrounded by residential complexes, was bustling again during the holiday.

Its children’s playground and amusement facilities reopened during the holiday and there were queues in front of the slide.

“Disinfection has been enhanced at public areas of the park,” said Wu Qingwen, a member of the park’s management staff.

“And activities such as dancing and chess playing which may trigger gatherings are banned.”

“We have also stepped up patrols by security guards to persuade visitors to avoid gatherings,” Wu added.

Inter-city group tours

Guyi Garden in Jiading District, a classic Jiangnan-style garden which dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), had 18,100 visitors over three days, also a record high since it reopened in March.

Shanghai-based online trip operator said it witnessed an increase of over 366 percent in booking for inter-province or inter-city group tours and a 114 percent rise on bookings for tourist attractions over the past week compared with the same period last month.

There was also an over 50 percent increase in transport-related orders, and a 60 percent hike in hotel bookings during the holiday compared with the same period last month as the badly-hit tourism market showed signs of recovery.

Short-distance tours lasting two or three days are popular, it said.

Online travel operator, which is also based in Shanghai, said 62 percent of its users booked half-day tours and 28 percent picked one-day tours during the holiday.

Countryside tourist attractions were more popular than those in downtown, it said.

Flower appreciation, hiking and fruit picking were the most popular tour options with tourists during the holiday, with parks and water towns favored, said

More than 3.37 million railway passengers were recorded in the Yangtze River Delta region between Friday and yesterday, and most of them were either visiting families, sweeping the tombs, or tourists on short-distance spring outings in the region, according to China Railway Shanghai Group yesterday.

More than 1,300 trains operated in the region daily during the holiday, including 900-plus high-speed trains, according to the group.

The Yangtze River Delta sections of high-speed railway lines such as Shanghai-Beijing, Shanghai-Nanjing and Hangzhou-Ningbo had the largest number of passengers, the group said.


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