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Hubei tourism rebounds after free-entry policy

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-08-14 13:59

The Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, Hubei province.[Photo/Xinhua]

Tourist sites in Hubei province rebounded in business after scrapping entrance fees for domestic visitors, a token of gratitude for nationwide assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 364 A-level scenic spots in Hubei received 1 million tourists between Aug 8, the start of the free-ticket policy, and Aug 10, said the province's culture and tourism department.

Some tourist hotspots, including the Yellow Crane Tower in the provincial capital Wuhan, saw tourist arrivals increase more than tenfold week on week in the three days, the department said.

"Many popular scenic spots in Hubei have witnessed a small business peak boosted by the free-ticket policy," said Chen Wei, an official with the department.

Lively crowds have returned to some tourist attractions that were hit hard by the epidemic, and some sites hit the daily reservation cap, set at 50 percent of their tourist-handling capacity, she said.

The return of tourists has boosted the occupancies of star and resort hotels in downtown Wuhan, which have recovered to 80 to 90 percent of the same period last year, according to the department.

Hubei last week announced the policy to open its key scenic spots to visitors from across the country free of charge starting from Aug 8 till the end of the year.

Its tourist sites will cap the number of visitors at 50 percent of their maximum daily capacity, and visitors from low-risk areas can enjoy free entry by making reservations online. Visitors are required to undergo temperature screening before entering the scenic spots.

Wang Hongnian, marketing director with Yellow Crane Tower management, said the site received an average of 15,000 tourists per day between Monday and Wednesday, surpassing the same period last year.

"The free-entry policy gave an instant boost to the popularity of scenic spots. Without it, the tower may only receive 2,000 to 3,000 people a day, only 20 percent of the same period last year," she said.

Despite the free entry, the greater number of tourists will actually boost the tourist revenue by driving up other tourist spending, Wang said, adding that the busy scenes also made them more confident about the city's recovery from the epidemic.

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