The nation's tourism industry, though suffering from the epidemic outbreak, has taken on a different landscape as more online resources are open to the public to meet people's desire for traveling while helping curb the expansion of novel coronavirus pneumonia.
The Beijing Zoo has been updating the daily lives of its animals on Chinese social media platforms since Saturday, uploading articles, videos and loads of pictures of the animals' training and feeding.
The zoo was forced to temporarily close to the public because of the epidemic outbreak on Jan 24, the beginning of the Spring Festival holiday.
So far, the "online zoo" has featured black muntjacs and giant pandas. The latest article published by the "online zoo" introduces all 10 pandas in the zoo, followed by pictures and videos showing them sauntering in the snow and loudly munching on bamboo.
The "online zoo" will be open every other day, adding that the service will be maintained after the zoo re-opens to the public, according to Zhang Chenglin, the zoo's deputy curator.
Meanwhile, quanjingke.com, a Beijing-based company focusing on virtual tourism using virtual reality technology, released a guidebook on its WeChat account, Beautiful China, in late January.
About 1,000 domestic attractions, such as the Summer Palace in Beijing, Yellow Mountain in East China's Anhui province and Zhangjiajie Tianmenshan National Forest Park in Central China's Hunan province, are seen with vivid VR pictures and presentation open to users. The services are free of charge.
Zhang Ning, a 26-year-old from Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, had planned to travel to Guilin in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region with her parents during Spring Festival vacation.
"But the epidemic outbreak ruined the plan and we had to stay at home," she said. "I introduced my parents to the online services a week ago, telling them that they can see anywhere they want online with free presentations."
"It's quite a good idea, at least it's a good way of killing time," she said.
The central government is also making efforts to diversify people's lives due to travel restrictions amid the epidemic outbreak.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism launched online public cultural services on Feb 2 at its official website.
People can get access to exhibitions organized by museums across the nation online and visit 30-plus virtual showrooms of the National Museum of China. Public classes organized by the National Library of China are also available to the public.
The ministry also posts travel tips and warnings to foreign countries and regions amid the epidemic to help travelers.
Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, said at a conference on Feb 6 in Beijing that group or organized tours were reduced or even canceled amid the epidemic outbreak.
"But I remain optimistic about the future. As long as people have a desire for traveling and we got supportive policies, we will win the battle against the virus and a better future for tourism," he said at the conference.
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