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June 28, 2010

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Rural bid to woo Expo visitors

LOCAL tourism and agricultural authorities are going to further develop agricultural tourism to attract more visitors after promotions to attract World Expo visitors to rural areas had met with a "just so-so" response, officials with the Shanghai Agriculture Commission said yesterday.

Some suburban families and scenic spots providing accommodation said they had many room available, while in downtown Shanghai the hotel booking rate was about 90 percent.

Officials said the countryside scenic spots, whose selling point was the rural way of life, were all offering the same foods, products and sightseeing attractions and nothing sufficiently different to attract Expo visitors.

To improve matters, the authorities are hoping that different scenic spots can develop different themes to interest tourists tired of the traditional attractions.

"If all the rural scenic spots provide the same activities, of course visitors, especially visitors from outside Shanghai, will feel bored," said Wang Dedi, the commission's director of the economic and trade department.

In Baoshan District, the Weisijia Ecological Garden will construct houses in the ancient Anhui style to give tourists a sense of what it would have been like to live in a town from China's ancient past.

Commission officials said after visitors had seen the painting "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" in the China Pavilion at the Expo, they could experience some of the rural scenes depicted in the real environment.

Songjiang District is to trial a new fruit picking garden with trees bearing fruit throughout the year.

Another park will be refashioned as a lotus theme park, and will hold a lotus festival during the summer.

"We'll make efforts on interactive activities as we reckon that activities which visitors can participate in by themselves will be popular," said Li Meng, deputy director of Songjiang District Tourism Administration.


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