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Information is the destination

Updated: 2023-02-14 08:25 ( China Daily )
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Zhu won first prize at the Zhejiang provincial tour guide competition in 2004 and was named a "golden guide "in Hangzhou multiple times in the following years.

He has thus been accredited a special talent by the Hangzhou authorities.

When asked if he is tired after being in the business this long, Zhu says he still enjoys it very much.

"It gives me a sense of fulfillment, and is fun," he says, adding that no matter how many times he has gone to a place, he always meets different travelers.

"Every tourist is an interesting being, and every one of them can teach you something interesting," he says.

For Zhu, the excitement about being a tour guide is the unknown, and the job is anything but repetitive.

Despite his online popularity, Zhu insists on taking guests on tours.

"I hope in people's eyes, I'm still a happiness conveyor who can talk nonstop about scenic spots and culture enthusiastically and humorously," Zhu says.

The swift rise to fame online has also woken Zhu to a new direction in his career, especially during the past three years when the industry bore the brunt of pandemic controls.

Many of his followers posted thankyou messages to him for enriching their lives through showing the country online, so they can have more options when making future travel decisions.

More importantly, he found his works have also helped introduce travelers to struggling scenic spots and tourism business operators, especially during the pandemic.

A tulip scenic spot in Jiangsu's Yancheng saw its business turnover increase by more than 30 percent in 2021 after Zhu's introduction.

A small restaurant hidden in a narrow lane in Hangzhou saw its lackluster business boom and expand in the same year after Zhu recommended its gourmet food.

Seeing those changes he could bring about, he has since made a point of uploading one or two videos a day.

As a result, his followers have grown exponentially.

Most of his diehard fans are men between 30 and 50 whose interest in politics, economy and history are tackled by Zhu's videos.

In addition to reaching a bigger audience and boosting business, Zhu says a major reason for him to insist on maintaining the online presence is to breathe some positive changes into his trade.

"It's important to build confidence in my line of work," Zhu says.

He believes it is more important to encourage future tourism players to stay the course.

When his fans reached 300,000 in 2019, he started to share stories of his initial success with other tour guides.

Over the past three years, many young tour guides have switched their careers to delivery, car-hailing services, insurance and other odd jobs.

"I believe they're waiting for the recovery of tourism," Zhu says.

He hopes he can be of some help to people in the industry by showing them how to create opportunities in crisis and how to gain attention through good tourism service.

"More young people are likely to join the field if they see me doing well online," Zhu says.

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