When is The Happiest Place on Earth not The Happiest Place on Earth (and not even The Happiest Place in China)? When it is ranked by the happiness index for tourist attractions, jointly released last week by the China Tourist Attractions Association and a research institution under the OCT Group, a leading theme park developer and operator in the country.
Based on online comments from tourists who had visited some 1,181 attractions in 2019, The Palace Museum – located in in the Forbidden City in Beijing – ranked first, followed by Shanghai Disney Resort and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, respectively.
A couple of notable omissions from the top 10 are the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, which came in at 11th, and the Great Wall of China, which – while visible from space – was nowhere to be seen on this list. Controversial. As is the inclusion of so many destinations that feature wild animals in captivity.
Here’s the top 10 (you can see the full list in Chinese right here):
1. The Palace Museum, Beijing
2. Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai
3. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Chengdu
4. Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong
5. Chimelong Safari Park, Guangzhou
6. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, Zhuhai
7. Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, Shanghai
8. Shanghai Wild Animal Park, Shanghai
9. Presidential Palace, Nanjing
10. Summer Palace, Beijing
The report noted that, with attractions across the country closing due to the coronavirus outbreak, China’s tourism sector can expect a slump in income of about 30% this year. There are, however, hopes for a post-COVID-19 tourism surge, with more than 80 million domestic tourists expected over the upcoming Labor Day holiday alone. So maybe avoid those ‘happiest’ attractions over the long weekend!
[Cover image via Xinhua]