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Shougang Park one of Beijing's latest evening destinations

By LI YINGXUE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-28 07:59

As night fell during the Spring Festival holiday, Shougang Park in Beijing's Shijingshan district underwent a remarkable transformation.

What was once an industrial-style park turned into a spectacle of red lights and yellow lanterns, evoking the ambience of ancient China.

From Feb 10 to 25, Shougang hosted its inaugural Spring Festival Garden Party, featuring traditional activities such as dragon and lion dances, lantern riddles and traditional games.

Visitors had the opportunity to savor a variety of delicacies, watch intangible cultural heritage inheritors make crafts, try on hanfu — traditional Chinese clothing — and immerse themselves in the spirit of ancient New Year celebrations.

The park, along with the Longfu Temple Cultural Street in Dongcheng district and the Beijing (Tongzhou) Grand Canal Cultural Tourism Area Central Zone, was one of 102 areas listed as part of the third batch of National Night Culture and Tourism Consumption Agglomeration Zones announced by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Jan 25.

This recognition adds to Beijing's already impressive tally of 14 selected areas, including Qianmen Street from the first batch and the Wangfujing area from the second.

Over the past two years, Beijing's night economy and tourism have flourished, making it a prime destination for nighttime activities and contributing to its status as a hub for night tourism and consumption.

According to data from e-commerce services platform Meituan, during the Spring Festival holiday, nighttime spending in Beijing accounted for about 45 percent of total spending, a 45 percent year-on-year increase.

Furthermore, most consumers conducting searches related to "nighttime entertainment" on the platform were looking for places in the capital.

Statistics from the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau reveal that foot traffic in key commercial areas of the city saw steady growth during the holiday period.

The Longfu Temple commercial district experienced an impressive 62.3 percent increase in foot traffic compared to the previous year. The central business district commercial area welcomed just over 1 million people at night during the holiday, while Wangfujing saw 419,000 nighttime visitors.

During the Lunar New Year, Beijing's various gathering spots offered exciting options for nighttime adventures. Places like the Liangma and Tonghui rivers dazzled visitors with captivating light displays. Wangfujing and the Wukesong commercial areas also showcased futuristic 3D light shows that could be viewed without special glasses.

"We fully utilize elements such as dragon culture and dragon totems to bring excellent Chinese traditional culture to life in landscape arrangements," said Qu Lijian, director of the landscape department of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Management.

Qu highlighted the extensive decorations throughout the city, including over 250,000 lanterns and decorations, about 2 million meters of tree lights and 220 large-scale ornaments.

"In terms of color, we deliberately chose Chinese red as the main tone, complemented by warm colors such as red, yellow and gold to make citizens and tourists feel the warmth of home and the warmth of the city," she said.

Shi Peihua, a professor at Nankai University in Tianjin, believes that designing cultural and tourism night activities should highlight cultural uniqueness.

By leveraging cultural resources and creating custom-themed light and multimedia art, these activities can evoke various emotions such as dreaminess, awe or romance, and diversifying nighttime experiences beyond mere sightseeing can enhance emotional engagement, Shi said.

Shi also suggested planning themed tour routes based on venue conditions and cultural assets. By combining various landmark attractions and night tour experiences, cities can create a cohesive brand for nighttime cultural and tourism activities, fostering greater impact and appeal, he said.


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