TV drama Blossom produced in downtown Shanghai triggers a surprise blossom of city’s tourism

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Written By Maya Cantina

Promotional material for Blossoms Shanghai Photo: Courtesy of Douban

During the winter holiday season, China’s northeastern city of Harbin has emerged as the top destination from travelers all over the country, drawing an estimated three million tourists during the New Year’s Day holidays. And, Shanghai has recently seen a boom in cultural and tourism consumption. It all makes sense when one looks at the bustling scene on the Huanghe Road, one of the busiest streets in Shanghai.

Shanghai has seen a huge surge in tourist spending with a local TV drama Blossom gaining popularity among audiences all around the country. The urban drama featuring heartwarming scenes and iconic landmarks of Shanghai, tells the story of the growth and entrepreneurship of common man called Ah Bao, amid changing times in Shanghai. 

Shot and produced against the backdrop of the city back in the 1990s, the TV drama has stirred up an increasing number of memories of the passing decades among China’s young generation and stimulated their appetite for spending.

Data from the Online travel agency showed a 20 percent increase in searches for travel to Shanghai compared to that of last month, since the TV series was put on air 10 days ago, and the figures for reservation order of private tours and group tours have jumped by 75 percent and 30 percent, respectively, Thepaper reported.

Notably, “Tai Sheng Yuan” restaurant on which the “Zhi Zhen Yuan” restaurant in the TV series based has become particularly popular with local customers. 

The Shanghai-style restaurant located in the Huanghe Road has welcomed visitors and diners who are willing to try the same menu containing the classic dishes in the hit drama. An employee working in “Tai Sheng Yuan” restaurant was quoted saying that, at present, it is difficult to reserve a table for the upcoming Lunar Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner on February 8. The compartment rooms are not available until a fortnight later, and only a few seats are left to be booked in the lobby. Many customers have already started making reservations to dine at the venue next month.

For most diners rushing to the Huanghe Road, what they eat is not the most important thing, the important thing is to come downtown, have a look and sit. For the older generation, it is more of a nostalgia tour, and for the younger people, it is to feel the atmosphere of old-day Shanghai. “This place brings me back memories of old-school Shanghai, which reminds me of the time I lived here in the 1990s.”

Data from online travel agency Tongcheng Travel indicated that during the same period, searches for accommodation in Shanghai’s Fairmont Peace Hotel, another landmark depicted in the TV series, increased by 415 percent month-on-month, while the figures for Shanghai International Hotel and Garden Hotel grew by 61 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

According to the domestic media reports, all rooms available from January 6 to January 9 have been fully booked. The price for one single night on January 18 even soars to 16,888 yuan, which is much higher than the price of other similar suites. 

Traditional Shanghai cuisine is also building on its reputation, as many residents have rushed to order takeaway of pork chops and rice cakes, a famous local street food with rich soy sauce, after watching the TV drama. The average search amount on for pork chops and rice cakes surged 670 percent, and the number of orders soared to 300 in just 10 minutes. Online takeaway orders of soup rice, chicken claw and other famous Shanghai local cuisines also marked a significant increase following the broadcast of the TV drama.

Global Times


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