The Shanghai Water Tourism Association is planning to develop water tourism into a permanent tourist attraction, emulating the successes of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
The city first offered sightseeing cruises to Donghai Bridge and the Yangshan Deep-Water port as part of the Shanghai Nanhui Peach Blossom Festival.
“We want to promote water tourism in Shanghai,” said Dao Shuming, director of the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administrative Commission, told the Shanghai Daily newspaper. “We want to gain more fame among foreign travelers.”
Out of 90 million tourists who visited Shanghai in 2005, only about two million went on river cruises along the Huangpu River and other waterways in the city. “We plan to add tours to the coastline of Nanhui District,” cruise tour operator Luo Ming said.
A market survey underaken in 2005 among foreign tourits indicated interest to go on a cruise along the Hangpu River, but only about 5 percent eventually did.
Seventeen ships have been given permits to offer tours along the river between the Nanpu and Yangpu Bridge. Only half, however, have fixed schedules.
The association also said it plans to not only improve services, but the industry’s image.
“The businesses are inefficiently run; ships lack decent catering service, poor scheduling and customer service. We need to improve menus, offer late night snacks and hold holiday feasts.
“Future plans include extending cruises to the south, Suzhou Creek and Dianshan Lake in Qingpu District,” added Dao.
Shanghai, a city of 10 million has always been synonymous with China’s history. China’s headlong rush to develop the nation has turned the city into its busiest port, as well as the country’s industrial base.