The 2010 World Expo begins in China this week, with 70 million visitors expected to come to Shanghai for the exhibition in the next six months.
China established its ability to stage impressive events in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games, and the scale of Shanghai's transformation is equally breathtaking.
The city has been transformed, with billions of dollars being poured into creating new city areas, revamping classic tourist spots such as the Bund, building new ports, metro systems, rail links and roads, and constructing new hotels to host the expected throngs.
As this massive investment program comes to a head, city officials say that there are around 550,000 hotel beds in Shanghai, 155 of the establishments designated official Expo hotels to hold performers and official visitors.
The World Expo is likely to provide a significant boost to Chinese tourism, which has been growing rapidly for the past decade. In 2007 55 million people visited, making it the fourth most visited country in the world, and the UN World Tourism Organization predicts that it will become the most visited country by 2020.
Even in 2008, Shanghai was China's most visited destination, pulling in 5.7 million international visitors according to analyst Euromonitor. Luxury hotels dominated its top five list, with the "incredible" five-star Park Hyatt in top place.
1 Park Hyatt Shanghai
2 Peninsula Shanghai
3 Le Royal Meridien Shanghai
4 Radisson Hotel Shanghai New World
5 JIA Shanghai Hotel
Average price of top five $378/€286
In 2008, 3.7 million international visitors poured into Guangzhou, the third largest city in China. Three of the top five hotels are luxury five-star properties, with The Westin taking top spot from competitors Grand Hyatt and Shangri-La.
1 The Westin Guangzhou
2 Grand Hyatt Guangzhou
3 Shangri-La Hotel Guangzhou
4 Chime Long Hotel
5 Bishuiwan Hot Spring Holiday Inn
Average price of top five $358/ €271
Despite hosting the Olympic Games, Euromonitor reports that visitor numbers actually fell 13 percent from 2007 to 2008 in Beijing. Boutique Hotel G takes top spot in current reviews, with travelers praising the hotel's bikes and comfortable rooms.
1 Hotel G
2 The Opposite House
3 Hilton Beijing Wangfujing
4 Holiday Inn Central Plaza
5 Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing
Average price of top five $207/€156
Shenzhen is a Special Economic Zone and enjoys excellent links to bordering Hong Kong, perhaps giving it a slightly unfair advantage in international tourism stakes - it pulled in 3.1 million international visitors in 2008, some likely to be transit passengers to or from Hong Kong. The luxury Ritz Carlton takes top spot among the city's hotels.
1 Ritz Carlton Shenzhen
2 InterContinental Shenzhen
3 JW Marriott Hotel Shenzhen
4 Sheraton Dameisha Resort
5 Mission Hills Resort at Mission Hills Golf Club
Average price of top five $251/€190
Known as the "Chinese Riviera," Zhuhai borders the former Portuguese enclave of Macau and thus enjoys a similar advantage to Shenzhen (see above). Nevertheless, it is a destination growing in popularity, posting a 16.7 percent jump in numbers in 2008, to 1.3 million international arrivals. Average pricing was unavailable but the top five hotels are less grand than the other featured cities, with the beachfront Ocean Spring Metropark taking top place.
1 Ocean Spring Metropark Hotel
2 Zhuhai Holiday Resort Hotel
3 Harbour View Hotel And Resort
4 Dehan Hotel
5 Grand Bay View Hotel
Data is taken from millions of independent reviews and rankings surveyed at TripAdvisor taken on April 28, 2010.
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