Tourists throng Universal Beijing after official opening on Monday

Published on : Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Universal Beijing Resort formally opened to tourists on Monday after 20 years of planning and construction. Its grand opening, at a time when cross-border travel remains suspended, has caught the attention of the whole country, with throngs of excited travellers flocking to the theme park for different cultural and entertainment experiences despite long lines and comparatively high prices.

“Compared with Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan and Singapore, the attractions and services at Universal Beijing Resort are not bad, although prices are a little bit higher,” a Beijing resident surnamed Jia, who is also engaged in the tourism industry, said on Tuesday.

He said that his family of three spent over 4,000 yuan ($619) at the resort on tickets, meals, Harry Potter-themed outfits and wands, as well as some small souvenirs.

Ticket prices for Universal Studios Beijing range from 418 yuan to 748 yuan, and visitors have to buy an “excellent speed pass” for another 400 yuan, or directly buy a “VIP experience” pass for 1,200 yuan to avoid long lines.

However, consumers’ enthusiasm for visiting the theme park didn’t diminish because of the prices, with tickets for the first day all gone within 30 minutes after online sales began on September 14.

“There were so many people, and you have to wait in line for up to 70 minutes to visit some projects on Monday,” Jia said. His team also booked tickets for more than 600 people on the opening day, and he said that most clients wanted to buy excellent speed pass tickets and VIP experience tickets.

According to a report on domestic travel platform Qunar, apart from Beijing, cities including Shanghai, Shenzhen in South China’s Guangdong Province and Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province are major sources of visitors to the Universal resort. It noted that about 60 percent of travellers from Shanghai are born after 1990.

As the fifth Universal theme park in the world and the third in Asia, with a total investment of over 50 billion yuan, the resort is estimated to generate annual revenue exceeding 10 billion yuan, domestic news site yicai.com reported, citing local officials.

Related accommodation and catering will generate more than 2 billion yuan of synergistic economic effects, the report said, noting that construction of phases two and three is now at the planning stage, and characteristic towns and cultural and tourism industries can be developed around the resort.

Given that there are about 10,000 employees at the new resort, about 70,000 jobs are likely to be created directly and indirectly in the long term, including those manufacturing souvenirs and cultural products related to Universal Studio and those engaged in the hospitality industry.

Qunar data showed that there are more than 50 hotels within five kilometres of the resort. Bookings for those hotels surged 15 times during the Mid-Autumn Festival holidays (from Sunday to Tuesday) this year, compared with the same holiday in 2019.

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