Located at the center of the mainland's coastline, Shanghai has long been a major hub of communications, transportaion, and international exchange. The municipality covers an area of 6,341 square kilometers and has a population of more than 13.5 million. Shanghai is China's largest economic comprehensive industrial base, and a famous historical and cultural city.
The city consistently attracts investment and is seen as an ideal venue for business gatherings. It is also a must on any agenda during a tour of China. Shanghai has fostered a comprehensive transportation network that incorporates land, sea, and air travel, as well as a convenient urban transportation system. More than 300 airlines serve the city, proving direct flights to more than 20 countries and regions. The addition of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, which went into operation in 1999, is expected to increase the annual passenger volume to some 20 million.
Special tourist trains running between Shanghai and the neighboring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, as well as tourist bus routes along newly-constructed expressways, offer great convenience for regional travel. Shanghai has more than 400 travel agenties to assist visitors, and the 127 star-rated hotels offer a total of 40, 000 guest rooms.
Visitors to Shanghai are not only dazzled by the modernmetropolis and gateway to a developing China, but are also able to immerse themselves in the unique Shanghai culture, a combination of Chinese and Western elements. Colorful festivals and cele-brations dot the yearly Shanghai activities calendar, such as the Shanghai Nanhui Peach Blossoms Festival, Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival and Shanghai China International Art Festival.
Shanghai has also introduced special tour packages aimed at the different interests of visitors, such as bicycling tours, hiking tours, gourmet tours, rehabilitation and health care tours, study tours, Japanese young women's tours, honey moon tours, and convention and exhibition tours.
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