Box office revenues take a big hit

Box office revenues in Guangdong province have plummeted more than 85 percent so far this year as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, and provincial authorities are taking steps to aid the industry.

The largest movie market in China, Guangdong logged box-office revenue of 318 million yuan ($44.98 million) between Jan 1 and March 17, compared with 2.18 billion yuan in the same period last year, Bai Jie, deputy director of the Guangdong Film Administration, said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Friday.

All movie theaters in the province have been closed as part of the effort to control the novel coronavirus. Normally, spring is a hot season for the movie industry and ramps up during the Spring Festival holiday, beginning in late January.

Provincial film authorities are implementing a plan to reimburse theaters using 48.79 million yuan from the movie development fund. It would benefit 1,325 theaters in the province, Bai said.

Guangdong, the largest tourist market in the country, recorded a decline of more than 79 percent in the number of tourists and a drop of more than 90 percent in tourism revenue during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday, said Wang Yiyang, director of the provincial department of culture and tourism.

The authorities passed measures on Friday supporting the culture and tourism sectors, he said. They include the allocation of 400 million yuan to relieve affected culture and tourism companies, and a reduction in rents charged by holders of State-owned property to private companies in the sector and events promoting tourism.

The potential demand in the tourism sector remains robust and the strong recovery of the sector will definitely happen after the epidemic is brought under control, said Zhu Shaodong, chairman of Guangdong Travel Service Association.

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