At the annual plenary sessions of Shanghai’s legislative and political advisory bodies in late January 2024, experts offered advice on improving the city’s tourism offerings.

The destination, and in particular the Yangtze River Delta region, is aiming to benefit from inbound tourism. Group recently signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with the China International Culture Association to overhaul inbound tourism.

On the international stage, China’s tourism industry is raring to go since it lifted visa requirements for travellers from France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Spain on 1 December 2023.

Countries including Thailand and Singapore implemented mutual visa waiver programmes with China in late 2023 and early 2024.

A business proposal at the plenary sessions advised Shanghai officials to utilise social media platforms and organise bloggers and vloggers in the fields of culture, tourism, lifestyle and art from major source countries to promote tourism to young audiences.

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The city’s authorities were advised to create a more friendly and convenient service environment in terms of telecommunication networks, payment and tax refunds and hotel choices, and to install public signs in more languages for foreign tourists, especially independent travellers.

Another key point of focus is the Shanghai International Resort Area, which consists of a core hospitality zone located in the Pudong New Area and includes the Shanghai Disney Resort.

According to local political advisor Shen Feng, Shanghai Disneyland received 13m tourists in 2023. Feng suggested that other foreign theme park brands could also be introduced to the resort.

It was proposed that the city of Shanghai, the country’s tourism authorities and industry players should have a stronger presence at international summits and exhibitions, including events during the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, the China International Travel Mart and the China International Import Expo.

Shanghai’s Mayor Gong Zheng announced several key projects in 2024 to boost culture and tourism in the city. These include accelerating the construction of the Lego Park which is scheduled to open in 2025, expanding the Pujiang cruise route, fully resuming the operation of international cruises and enriching landmark commercial zones such as Nanjing Road, Lujiazui and Xujiahui.