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Analysis of Tourism Development in Shanghai

Analysis of Tourism Development in Shanghai


Tourism plays a pivotal role in enhancing the status of a destination internationally together with attracting substantive economic and social development. Shanghai sits in China’s central coast and stands out as one of the biggest city boasting of an established global financial hub with a legendary modern set up that incorporates a rich cultural environment. The benefits of tourism cannot be gainsaid in contemporary society since it offers significant foreign exchange earnings together with providing opportunities for investors in the sector that help improve the people’s quality of life. Shanghai just like many other tourist destinations has gained from the industry but equally faces a host of challenges which require the initiation of deliberate measures to guide their growth as a top tourist destination globally. Tourism has often posed a substantive threat to the environment making it imperative for governments to develop models that will promote sustainable tourism that will continually make the destination viable. The paper will analyze the different reform measures taken by the government to ensure they provide an enabling environment towards the improvement of tourist activities to attract more visitors. More importantly, a review of different challenges and difficulties in making Shanghai the ideal destination for tourists around the world will immensely contribute to the development of tourism.

The City of Shanghai: General Overview

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities in the People’s Republic of China administered by the central government of China through the provision of systems and structures for a better city management framework. Shanghai has the largest population of people in China and by extension the second most populous city in the world with an estimated population of 24 million as of 2017. The large population occupies a municipality area of 6,341 square kilometers, water area of 697 square kilometers and a 4000 square kilometers urban area. The city has established a global financial center and transport hub boasting of a significant input on infrastructural development which has made it possible to create the busiest container port. Shanghai lies in the Yangtze River Delta located in the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze along the middle portion of the East Coast China. The municipality is situated next to Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces to the north, south, and west which is hemmed into the east by the East China Sea.

Location of Shanghai Municipality in China

The growth of the City of Shanghai got premised on the realization of the potential that comes from trade in the 19th century judging from the suitable location that allows it stand out as a trading and shipping city. The victory of the British after the First Opium War against China saw the opening up as a treaty port to facilitate the flow of foreign trade that ignited their economic development. In the 1930s, Shanghai managed to emerge as a critical financial hub in the Asia-Pacific region thereby creating a center for trade between China and the world. The city made tremendous growth in fostering foreign trade relations until the Communist Party took over government limiting trade to socialist countries (Li, Zhang, & Cai, 2016). The policy of the Communist Party led to a substantive decline in business flows within the city since it developed a discriminative approach to different countries. Nonetheless, the glory of the city was later rejuvenated in the 1990s due to the input advanced by Deng Xiaoping through economic reforms that made it possible to attract a lot of economic activities. The development of the tourism industry has been attributed to the reputation of the City globally as a center of excellence in trade especially the renowned Shanghai Stock Exchange with one of the largest market capitalization in the world.

The political system of Shanghai is based on a parallel party government consisting of a Communist Party of China Shanghai Municipal Committee Secretary that presides over the administration of the city. The Communist Party Standing Committee composed of 11 members is charged with the responsibility of policy formulation hence could develop initiatives that would take the tourism industry on another level. The City is stable politically thereby offering an enabling environment for the safety of tourists and enabled them to experience the beauty that comes with the epic Lujiazui skyline. The fantastic feeling of having to enjoy walking around the city to have a taste of the museums, historical buildings together with having scenic views of the Bund (Wu, & Cai, 2006). The City God Temple and the Yu Garden have never disappointed visitors in Shanghai since it makes them appreciate the Chinese craftsmanship.

The social demography of Shanghai consists of a people that have managed to establish steady growth with a 37.9% growth from 2000 to 2010. The religious demography consists of a blend of religious heritage encompassing a substantive number of people being traditional faithful’s with no religious affiliation while Buddhists are forming a majority in mainstream religions. The development of the social demography consists of people that recognize the significance of cohesion and hard work based on their convictions on the traditional set up of their mutual understanding (Li et al., 2016). Despite the challenges of a changing climatic pattern, the government of China has undertaken measures which have strengthened the need to improve how the travel experience of visitors through an advisory on the different seasons. The City of Shanghai is undoubtedly a fantastic tourist destination that requires a transformative initiative geared towards breeding economic growth and societal development.

Assessment of Tourism in the City of Shanghai

The City of Shanghai is an incredible tourist destination that requires the input of mechanisms that would promote an exciting brand to the world. The City gains from the history of establishing a global financial center that most people around the world would cherish to experience but equally requires the initiation of efforts for better positioning. The foreign exchange attained from tourist activities together with some jobs it delivers both, directly and indirectly, makes it crucial for an undertaking that will improve the sector operation. Tourism being a hospitality endeavor requires offering competitive and exciting tour packages that will attract the trouping of visitors to benefit the economy. The understanding and contribution of the transformative measures will enhance the improvement of the tourism industry for the economic prosperity of Shanghai (WU, & JIA, 2002). Shanghai stands out as one of the leading seaports of the world frequented by tourists from around the globe but equally has the potential to attract more if mechanisms are initiated through transformative programs.

The tourism activities in Shanghai are administered and controlled by the Shanghai Administrative Tourist Committee that undertakes numerous assessments which guide the strategic positioning of the destination. The efforts of the committee in the past has yielded tremendous gains through the creation of mechanisms that have improved the quality of life among the people by attracting economic transformation from foreign exchange gains. Shanghai Municipal Tourism Committee established under the municipal government is mandated with the role of implementation of laws and relevant rules concerning tourism to better improve on outputs realized from the sector (Kang, Lee, & Li, 2016). The output of the committee has been possible judging from the increase in tourist numbers as in 2016; the domestic tourists grew by 7.4% to 296 million while overseas tourist numbers rose by 6.8 % to hit 8.54 million. The growth is attributed to the measures put in place in the past where most tourists come for vacations, conferences and travelling to experience the beauty of the historical sites around the City.

Assessment of Shanghai’s Tourism Master Plan and Actions

Shanghai Municipal Tourism Committee should undertake an initiative that would extensively grow their brand as an outstanding destination. The strategic goal undertaken by the committee seeks to develop mechanisms that initiate a framework responsible for creating an extensive model on urban development that would improve on service delivery. The statistics on the expected growth of the City makes it imperative to develop a comprehensive municipal planning system that would enable sustainable tourism to take place without adverse limitation or threat to the environment. Even though the country has experienced significant reforms towards improving infrastructural development to facilitate the improvement of logistics for the tourists, it is essential that more is considered towards the increased funding for sustainable infrastructural development. Most visitors appreciate the less hustle they have to experience while enjoying their tourist experience in a given location perhaps the motivation behind an increased focus on improving infrastructure (Qureshi, Hassan, Hishan, Rasli, and Zaman, 2017). The funding to facilitate sustainable development and maintenance requires private, public partnerships with other players that benefit from tourist numbers like business entities. The municipal government should engage in consultative forums to seek the support of business and hotels to facilitate the development and maintenance of an efficient infrastructural network.

The Municipal government should provide incentives for investors that wish to set up hotels and other icon developments that will attract global attention thereby boosting tourist numbers. The incentives should be structured in a manner that they establish a middle ground between the ability to earn revenue and the multiplier effect of the investment to the economy (Qureshi et al., 2017). Initiatives that will improve the rankings of the City in the international market should be encouraged by the municipal government to deliver an enabling environment for tourist activities. Finally, the Municipal Tourism Committee should step up efforts to sell the tourist destination around the world to create the interest in the untapped market segments. The marketing strategy should involve a competent marketing strategy that will include an excellent public relation mechanism capable of utilizing all the communication tools to engage the world on what they stand to benefit from visiting Shanghai. Marketing Shanghai should equally involve the engagement of the film industry to allow organizations film movies in the country that will speak to the world on the beauty of the city (Hsu, Cai, & Wong, 2007). The promotion of Shanghai as a great tourist destination will improve based on the quality standards established by the government towards improving service to the visitors. The marketing task should utilize technological advancement to ensure the efficiency and reach on extensive coverage of potential tourists irrespective of the geographical distance.


In conclusion, it is imperative to underscore the fact that the City of Shanghai has an organized system regarding the development of initiatives to foster tourism growth but equally require the input of measures responsible for attracting more numbers in the country. The development of their urban planning master plan is an indication of the commitment towards taking care of the growing numbers and ensuring they attain the goals of sustainable tourism. The different measures equally target the need to enhance the number of visitors to Shanghai and equally demonstrate the need to prevent tourist activities from being a threat to the environment. Sustainable tourism will go a long way into improving the quality of life in Shanghai and equally develop a sustainable economic development.


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