ATTRACTIONS around the West Lake are now open free to visitors through May 1. Number limits and epidemic controls are also in effect to ensure public health.
The management committee of the West Lake Scenic Area has announced that all scenic spots are open free to visitors through May 1 as authorities move to revitalize the tourism industry in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
For now, certain restrictions apply: Tourist numbers are limited, varying from 200 to 15,000 per day according to the size of each venue. Visits must also be booked beforehand via the Zhangshang Xihu app, or West Lake Tourism and West Lake Scenic Area WeChat accounts.
Due to stringent epidemic control policies in Hangzhou, indoor spaces such as ancient houses, pagodas, temples and pavilions will continue to remain closed in the West Lake Scenic Area.
People are permitted to book, at most, three spots in a single day. Visits to the same site cannot be booked within three days. Identity verification is required to fill in booking information.
“Visitor numbers keep jumping since we reopened for free. Almost 2,000 people flocked to the zoo in a single day,” said Zhou Yang, a manager at Hangzhou Zoo. “Now the epidemic is still ongoing, so our control measures are still strict.”
Every entrance is equipped with somatosensory screening machines and digital thermometers, and staffed with volunteers. Visitors must show a green health code and have their temperatures checked at the entrance.
Each scenic spot has also introduced measures to cut down crowds. Used face masks must be thrown into special disposal bins.
Admission to Hangzhou Xixi Wetland and Liangzhu Archeology Relics Park is also free through May 1 via the same booking system. These sites apply the same public health control measures.
As China’s coronavirus epidemic comes under control, Hangzhou Museum and West Lake Museum reopened to the public on March 17. Visitors can book entrance beforehand through their official WeChat accounts, and must obey epidemic control measures during their visits.
To revive the tourism industry, the Hangzhou government will implement a series of supportive measures through May 1.
Local authorities have established special funds to relieve pressure on related companies and units. Hotels are encouraged to offer 50 percent discounts to attract guests, and they will get subsidies from the city government in two months.
In gratitude to medical staff for their contribution to the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, all state-owned scenic spots in Hangzhou will open to medical professionals free of charge throughout the year. Privately owned scenic spots that offer free admission to medical professionals in 2020 will be provided with a financial subsidy up to 1 million yuan (US$142,600) this year.
Tourism agencies will be aided with up to 500,000 yuan if they bring tourist groups to Hangzhou. The government will provide each charter train (exceeding 500 tourists onboard) and flight (exceeding 150 tourists onboard) with 50,000 yuan to cover expenditures.
Government departments encourage hotels and scenic spots to install facial recognition machines instead of manually recording identity information. This is hoped to cut down face-to-face contact and risks of cross infection. Government subsidizes are also available for such equipment.
This year, tourism authorities will organize at least 2,000 performances in villages, streets and residential communities. Companies and units are encouraged to launch team activities at local scenic spots. In the coming months, details on 10 tourist routes and 100 preferential actions will be announced.
Due to the impact of the pandemic, many tourism agencies and companies have encountered cash flow challenges. Thus, Hangzhou government is going to refund 80 percent of their annual service quality deposit by the end of March, totaling around 220 million yuan.
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Further Readings About Traveling in Hangzhou during the COVID-19
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