Chinese cultural and tourism companies are moving to gain a strong foothold in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, betting that the 11-city cluster will drive a new round of growth in the sectors with its preferential policies and massive market scale.
Online travel agency Ctrip said it is working with some Bay Area city governments on developing tourism products and enhancing the quality of local tourism.
For example, it is studying with Zhuhai's Hengqin New Area the possibility of launching a "City Pass", a kind of prepaid ticket booklet with which tourists can visit sites in Zhuhai and the neighboring city of Macao.
Ctrip is also cooperating with Guangzhou's Nansha district on an offline tourist consultation center. The online travel services provider said it will be responsible for operation, marketing and staff training of the facility, which is expected to come into service this year.
"The cultural and tourism guidelines issued by the government in late December are a big boon for industry players," said Chen Xin, vice-general manager of Ctrip's government resources cooperation department. "Under the directive, we can expect better policy coordination and resources sharing in the region.
"As integration deepens in the 11-city cluster, a large number of intercity tourism products, such as those featuring culture and history, food- or leisure-themed ones, are expected to come out. This will undoubtedly boost our business.
"We will take full advantage of our strengths in product supply chain, the number of users and talent resource to play an active role in cultural and tourism development of the Bay Area," he added.
Shenzhen-based OCT Group, which develops amusement parks and has other tourism and culture related ventures, said it has established business in all nine Guangdong cities in the Bay Area with around 30 projects in total, covering more than 10 types including theme parks, natural scenic spots and cultural towns. The company said it will invest over 100 billion yuan (US$15.5 billion) in the region in the coming years.
With a massive economic scale, the Bay Area is one of the core regions where OCT develops business and it will be one of the most important regions in the group's future investment and business landscape, it said in a written reply to queries from China Daily.
Even though the coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the cultural and tourism sectors, the company says the long-term future is promising, as advancement of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G and big data will push for their transformation and upgrading.
As a pioneer of the country's technological innovation and leisure consumption, the Bay Area is expected to take the lead in the transformation and improvement of culture and tourism, which will help drive a new round of robust growth of the two sectors, OCT said.