Chinese water towns lure festival tourists

Chinese tourism website Mafengwo’s data showed user inquiries about Xitang and Wuzhen, two popular water towns in Zhejiang province, increased by 22.6 and 18.4 percent respectively in late October.

Young Chinese tourists booked accommodation and train tickets in advance to enjoy the annual Xitang Hanfu Cultural Festival and Wuzhen Theatre Festival.

“Many destinations are building such cultural activities to attract tourists who share the same interests. It’s an integration of culture and tourism,” said Feng Rao, head of Mafengwo’s travel research center.

Mafengwo’s data showed searches for the Wuzhen Theatre Festival on the website increased by 37 percent before its opening ceremony on Oct 25. Prices of some hotels in Xitang increased 200 to 400 percent when the Hanfu Cultural Festival kicked off on Oct 26.

While Xitang and Wuzhen are popular one-day destinations for those who live in nearby regions, tourists stay three to seven days on average during the festivals to immerse themselves in the activities.

He said the success of such festivals has made Xitang and Wuzhen stand out among its counterparts, with a transition from a town for leisure to a full-blown cultural town.

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