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Surge in tourist turnout marred by eyesores

FLOWER sightseeing was the most popular activity during the three-day Qingming Festival that ended yesterday. Shanghai tourism department reported a 61 percent surge in tourist turnout.

The Gucun Park in Baoshan District, famous for its pink sea of cherry blossoms, received a record 124,000 visitors yesterday.

Despite the spring tourism boom, local citizens also decried the ugly manners of some individuals. A visitor broke off a deer's antler when he tried to feed the animal in Shanghai Zoo yesterday and later posted a picture of the bleeding deer, which made a stir on the Internet.

Although a zoo official later explained that some deer cast off their antlers each year, the visitor who ignored the zoo's ban on feeding still drew a lot of public condemnation.

Gucun Park also suffered damages as many visitors broke cherry branches to take flowers with them and littered trash everywhere.

The past three days also saw more than 170,000 people passing through the customs at Shanghai airports, 5 percent more than last year, as they went on short trips to Japan South Korea and other neighboring countries.

Many also went to Taiwan to visit the tombs of their deceased family members, said Shanghai's border police.

However some travelers heading for Japan were affected by a typhoon that swept across Japan since Tuesday. Most of them wanted to see cherry blossoms in Japanese cities. At least 730 were stranded at the Pudong International Airport after their flights were canceled on Tuesday. Those on their way back also found their trips affected.

"I thought this journey would be smooth. It never occurred to me that we would run into a typhoon" said a traveler surnamed Ma, who was scheduled to return on Tuesday but was delayed until yesterday.

Ma said some tourist spots in Japan were closed to visitors due to the bad weather.


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