Kunming, Yunnan is rallying its tourism industry in preparation for the opening of the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway in late December.
The new rail link will slash to less than nine hours the 2,200-km journey from Shanghai thanks to speeds of 350kph. The extant rail service between Shanghai and Kunming takes a whopping 35-40 hours. Ticket prices will be lower than airfares at RMB700-750.
Yunnan’s tourism authorities say that the number of tourists to Kunming is expected to rise 10-20% almost immediately after the opening. During the first month of opening some Kunming hotels will offer 10-50% discounts. And tickets for scenic areas will be 50% cheaper upon presentation of a Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway ticket.
The new train service will make it feasible for tourists in neighboring provinces such as Sichuan and Guizhou to make weekend trips to Kunming.
Kunming is among the ten most popular cities for Chinese tourists. In 2020, the number of visitors to Kunming is expected to reach 150 million, a fifth of whom are expected to be served by high-speed trains.
The Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Working Group will hold a meeting in Kunming next week.