Three-day holiday bolsters China’s domestic tourism market

Dragon boats are seen during the Taizhou Jiangyan Qintong Boat Festival at the Qinhu National Wetland Park in Taizhou, in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Traditionally held around the Qingming Festival in April, the centuries-old tradition includes theatrical performances, as well as dragon and lion dances, with folk dances taking place directly on the boats. — AFP

Beijing: The just-concluded Qingming Festival holiday proved to be a boon for the tourism industry in the country with both the number of travellers and tourism revenue soaring as people made the most of the short break.

Figures from the Culture and Tourism Ministry last Saturday showed that domestic destinations witnessed about 119 million visits during the three-day holiday, which started last Thursday, the Tomb Sweeping Day, up 11.5% compared with 2019. There was only one day off for the occasion last year, and it resulted in 23.77 million domestic visits.

The travel boom during the holiday generated revenue of about 54 billion yuan, up 12.7% compared with 2019, the ministry said.

Reports and figures from travel agencies and local government departments also paint a positive picture. Travel portal said that over the holiday, bookings for short-distance tours to destinations within cities customers live in grew 211% year-on-year (y-o-y), and bookings to neighbouring destinations located outside the cities they live in skyrocketed 350% y-o-y.

The top attractions among users of the travel portal were places well known for flower blossoms at this time of the year. Ticket bookings for such attractions surged 391% y-o-y.

Luoyang, a city famous for peony flowers in Central China’s Henan province, Nyingchi in the Xizang autonomous region with its peach blossom-covered mountains and Nanjing with plum blossoms in the eastern province of Jiangsu, were among the popular destinations for nature lovers during the holiday.

“People have shown a strong desire to travel this holiday, and the tourism market is in continuous recovery,” said Qi Chunguang, vice-president of online travel agency Tuniu.

He said the platform saw hotel bookings grow 68% y-o-y, and the number of self-driving travellers using Tuniu’s services increased 61% y-o-y. “The results meet our expectations,” he added.

In addition to traditionally popular destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai, lesser-known places also saw huge tourist influx after local food and unique folk activities found viral online fame.

Quanzhou, a city in the southeastern province of Fujian, welcomed a huge number of travellers attracted by its traditional “head-pinned flowers”. Qunar, an online travel agency, said that hotel bookings to Quanzhou grew 3.3-fold during the holiday.

Xiao Peng, a researcher from Qunar, said that young people, who are the main drivers of tourism consumption, prefer diverse or unique travelling experiences. “An ancient street or a delicious cuisine may attract a large number of travellers to a place,” he said.

The inbound and outbound tourism market also showed good performance over the holiday.

According to the National Immigration Administration, the Chinese mainland saw about 5.19 million entries and exits, up 69.6% y-o-y.

Qi Chunguang, vice-president of Tuniu, said: “Thailand, Japan, the Maldives, Egypt and New Zealand were popular among our customers.

“Some tailored tour products to South-East Asian destinations including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand were also popular, especially among young people, aged 25 to 35, as the three countries are visa-free for Chinese citizens.” — China Daily/ANN

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