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June 18, 2021

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Tourism to get post-pandemic aid

Shanghai’s authorities are boosting financial support to help enterprises in the hard-hit tourism industry recover from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Twelve new measures were released yesterday to help tourism businesses impacted by the pandemic and fuel their development.

“Tourism is among the worst-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts have already been made to offset the impact and help companies resume normal operations,” Fang Shizhong, director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism, told reporters.

“As the pandemic is under control in the nation. China’s tourism industry is recovering, and pent-up tourism demand has been released in the domestic tourism market, calling for new measures.”

Last year, Shanghai’s tourism revenue was 313.98 billion yuan (US$48.86 billion), down 43 percent from 2019.

In the first five months of this year, the average occupancy rate of star-rated hotels hit 49 percent, a rise of 28 percent from the same period last year but still 15 percent lower than 2019.

“The measures aim to accelerate the recovery of Shanghai’s tourism industry, and boost companies’ confidence with a focus on long-term development in the industry,” said Fang.

The city recorded 236 million visits by domestic tourists last year, and domestic tourism revenue of 280.95 billion yuan, recovering 65 percent and 59 percent from a year earlier. And the figures were 17 percent and 19.7 percent higher than the nation’s average respectively, according to the administration.

“The development of the city’s tourism industry is stronger than the nation’s average, while scattered coronavirus cases this year still put pressure on the revitalization of the industry,” said Fang.

Last year, measures such as reduction and exemption of property rents and utility fees were undertaken to help companies get through the impact of the pandemic.

Many tourist operators, such as scenic spots, hotels and travel agencies, expressed hope that authorities would continue these policies, and deliver additional help to help them expand tourist sources and financing, said Fang.

The 12 new measures cover a wide range of areas. They will deliver help to small and medium-sized travel agencies related to loan applications and expanding their financing means to ease the financial pressure.

A number of agreements were signed by authorities and banks yesterday to establish a 24-hour financial service platform that helps small and medium-sized players in the industry tackle their financial difficulties.

As part of the industry relief measures, tourism-service quality assurance deposits will be returned to travel agencies in the city.

The returns are a temporary measure, and full deposits should be paid back to the authority before February 5, 2022.

The deposits are used to compensate tourists in disputes over contracts or situations such as travel agencies going bankrupt.

A replacement solution is being worked out.

The new measures will be launched when the deposit payment is due, according to the administration.


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