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Universal Beijing Resort marks first anniversary with surging visits

2022-09-21 08:51:14Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Universal Beijing Resort celebrated its first anniversary on Tuesday, and despite the COVID-19 epidemic it has remained popular, with visits surging. It has also boosted consumption at surrounding hotels and restaurants. 

Ticket bookings for the resort rose more than 50 percent in August from July, with children's ticket bookings up nearly 70 percent, data from domestic online travel platform Qunar showed.

During the second weekend in September, which was also China's Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, the ticket bookings surged six times compared to the previous weekend, Qunar told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The resort also has boosted consumption nearby, Qunar said. For instance, accommodation bookings around Beijing Universal Studios during the summer vacation - from July 1 to August 31 - increased by nearly 50 percent year-on-year, it said.

Since the opening of the resort, more than 13.8 million visitors have watched over 68,000 performances at the park, and they have drunk over 1 million cups of butter beer, media reports said, citing data from the resort. 

Different from historical and cultural sites in Beijing, the Universal Beijing Resort has offered a new choice for both residents in the city and tourists from other cities, Lin Huanjie, director of the Institute for Theme Park Studies in China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

It has also boosted the growth of surrounding industries, such as transportation, hotels, retail, catering and others, Lin said.

Boosted by the resort, the revenue of the culture, sports and entertainment companies above a designated size in Beijing's Tongzhou District, where the theme park is located, increased by 367.4 percent year-on-year in 2021, and the revenue of the accommodation industry increased by 122.6 percent, Yang Lei, vice director of the district said at a press conference on July 12. 

Lin also noted that though the resort has seen surging visits recently, it was affected by the epidemic, and the performance in its first year fell behind initial expectations. 

But it is obvious that the populous Chinese market remains lucrative for both foreign and domestic theme parks. "The future of the industry is in China," Lin said, adding that it is not only leading foreign players that have expanded in the market; domestic players have also enhanced their competitiveness in recent years.

UK-based Legoland Park is building three theme parks in China, one in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, one in Southwest China's Sichuan Province and one in Shanghai. One of them is reportedly set to be completed in 2023 and the other two in 2024. 

A Paramount theme park resort will be located in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province and construction is expected to start by the end of the year, according to media reports. 

The interests of Chinese visitors have become more varied, and now they want more high-quality service and experiences at theme parks. The introduction of foreign brands has spurred fiercer competition, which is a good thing for the development of the industry in China, Lin said, noting that it is crucial for domestic brands to cultivate their own features and make good use of Chinese cultural elements.


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