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    As Summer Vacation Begins, Museum Fever Grips China

    Chinese museums are experiencing a surge in demand this summer, with tickets selling out days in advance.

    As schools’ summer vacations get underway, museums across China are seeing a surge in demand for tickets from families eager to enrich their children’s education, Shanghai-based news outlet The Paper reported Tuesday.

    Popular museums are facing overwhelming demand amid a growing fashion for parents to arrange “study tours” of historic sites for their children — either signing them up for trips run by travel companies or booking family vacations themselves.

    Tickets to many venues are selling out days in advance, and even over a week in advance in the case of top attractions like Beijing’s Palace Museum and Nanjing Museum in the eastern Jiangsu province.

    Searches for “museums” on listings platforms Meituan and Dianping have increased 61% since June, according to data from the companies, with the top five most-searched cities being Xi’an (home of the Terra-cotta Army), Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Wuhan. Museum ticket sales on online travel platform are up over 90% year over year this summer as of July 3, according to the company.

    Many parents have been caught out by the sudden surge in demand. Shanghai resident Tan Yanhua told Sixth Tone that she had planned to take her 10-year-old son on a museum tour of nearby Nanjing. But after booking train tickets and hotel rooms in the historic former capital, she realized that all the local museums were fully booked for the following week.

    “I knew it would be busy, but I didn’t expect it to be this extreme,” Tan said. She added that she had since canceled her travel plans and would try again once more museum tickets had become available.

    One of the hottest tickets this summer has been for the Shanghai Museum’s exhibition of ancient Egyptian artifacts, “On Top of the Pyramid,” which opens on July 18. All 200,000 early bird tickets for the show were snapped up within a month of going on sale in May, and entry tickets to the museum’s People’s Square branch are fully booked up to July 21.

    The museum fever is also providing a boost to nearby hotels and rental apartments. According to, reservations at hotels near the Shanghai Museum have risen 20% year over year this summer.

    Tujia, a rental apartment platform, has reported that bookings near museums have almost doubled this summer. Bookings for homestays close to the Sanxingdui Museum in the southwestern Sichuan province have surged more than 15-fold this summer, The Paper reported.

     (Header image: Children visit the Imperial Palace at a summer camp in Beijing, July 7, 2024. VCG)