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Beijing’s Tourism Roadshow stages event in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal

The roadshow event won many rounds of applause from New Yorkers and tourists alike.

NEW YORK – The Beijing Tourism Roadshow hosted by the Beijing Tourism Development Committee was presented in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal, New York City‘s iconic century-old train station. At this key thoroughfare for millions of New Yorkers, passers-by experienced the charm and thrill of Beijing as a travel destination, with onlookers providing round after round of applause.

On the stage, two vermilion doors opened slowly, revealing several habitants going about their daily life in the modern and busy city of Beijing, thousands of miles away. Five actors dressed as pandas, waving their awkward bodies, threw plush panda toys into the crowd, drawing the attention of a great number of passers-by.

At 1 pm, when the train station is normally at its busiest, a young man who identified himself simply as Lepus and traveling from Iowa decided to watch the next program before catching his train after looking at the train schedule and checking his wristwatch. There were easily one to two hundred passengers who, like Lepus, kept watching programs while nervously looking at wristwatches or checking the time on their phones. Passengers waiting for their trains, along with tourists and passers-by, crowded around the more than 30-foot-long stage. All seats in the six rows facing the stage were occupied, while several children sat on the ground in front of the first row of seats.

In addition to monkey boxing, nunchaku, the fan dance and a Beijing opera skit, the roadshow included both a kung fu session as well as humorous and lively situational dramas. The audience gave a particularly loud round of applause and audible cheers could be heard during the kung fu sessions, which included boxing, leg exercises, flight and turn. Several audience members also reached forward to touch the “Kung Fu pandas” to satisfy their curiosity.

At the event, the Beijing Tourism Development Committee gave out promotional materials describing Beijing’s recently announced 72-hour visa-free stay policy and other tourism information, including a travel map of Beijing. Looking at the materials that he was given, Lepus said, “I have been thinking about going to Beijing for quite a while now. Now, I would really like to, as I see there are so many interesting places to visit.”

According to an introductory keynote given by Zou Weinan, a member of the Beijing Tourism Development Committee, it was the first time that Beijing held a tourism-themed roadshow in a busy public space in New York. The committee hopes to put on more such shows in and around New York.

The US represents the largest overseas tourism market for Beijing, with its more than 700,000 tourists that visit the Chinese capital annually. Over the last few years, “Beijing Tourism” continued to be innovative in its approach to its tourism promotion in the US market, from the New Year’s countdown ceremony in New York City’s Times Square to three Chinese tenors singing at Lincoln Center, to the “Glamorous Beijing World City” Fair at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Beijing Tourism’s promotions in major US cities take into account the customs particular to each locale where they stage an event, and, as a result, get a much better result.

This year, in combination with the 72-hour visa-free stay policy, the Beijing Tourism Development Committee teamed up with CNN, National Geographic Channel and the New York Times’ website to further showcase the city’s touristic attractions. Many reporters from local mainstream media, including several from CNN, attended the roadshow. After watching the show, Sally Yang, CEO of CNN Asia Pacific, reiterated how wonderful and amazing she thought the show was. She said it was the first time that she witnessed such a high-quality event in Grand Central Terminal. The performance was very popular among the New Yorkers and tourists who happened to pass by.

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