• Retail, tourism get boom from Expo visitors
  • Global Times 2010-05-07 19:14 anonymous
  • (Low Carbon Network News)The dramatic rise in tourists arriving in Shanghai during the May Day holiday has caused the local retail and tourism industries to skyrocket.

    Nearly 4.2 million people visited Shanghai during the five-day holiday, according to the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Bureau. And the total sales revenue for the 480 major shopping malls around the city has reached nearly 4.2 billion yuan ($615 million), 22 percent up compared to the same period last year.

    Huangpu district brought home the most with 406 million yuan ($58 million), fol-lowed by Xuhui, Pudong and Changning districts that have all raked in profits of over 200 million yuan ($28.6 million).

    Gold bars were certainly a favorite among shoppers, up 50 percent on last year. Shanghai Morning Post reported that one man spent 1.3 million yuan ($185,700) in one go to buy a total of five kilograms in gold bars.

    The price of gold at the moment is around 257 yuan ($36.7) per gram in the international market, which has seen a rise of 10 yuan ($1.5) since the beginning of April.

    "A large number of our buyers are investors and collectors. They believe that the price of gold will continue to grow in the future, and that's the main reason why the gold trade volume has grown so drastically," Zhang Zhouyun, deputy director from Shanghai Gold Company, told the Global Times Wednesday.

    Zhang's company, who own 25 shops in Shanghai, pulled in over 30 million yuan ($2.1 million) in the past 4 days, an increase of 20 percent from last year, and nearly a quarter of the sales are from Expo-themed gold bars, which began selling in early April.

    Also, sales of the digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras shot up 20 times. According to an employee from Suning Appliance, a leading 3C (consumer appliances, computers and communication products) chain retailer in China, customers are favoring cameras ranging from 7,000 yuan ($1,028) to 12,000 yuan ($1,764).

    Shanghai's tourism industry has also benefited. Over 73,000 people poured onto Chong-ming Island on May 2, hitting a record high for the number of tourists in a single day.

    According to the Municipal Tourism Bureau, nearly 60 percent of all hotel rooms across the city were occupied during the holiday, a 20 percent rise. Luwan, Xuhui, Jing'an and Pudong, districts adjacent to the Expo site, had the highest occupancy rate.

    From May 1 to 3, the total income from the tourism sector reached 2.5 billion yuan ($357 million).

    More than 120,000 tourists from all across the country swooped into Shanghai through Expo designated travel agencies.