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Blossoming holiday travel indicates trend for year

By CHENG SI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-06 07:22
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Tourists watch a camel show in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Sunday. China has seen an increase in people traveling during this year's Qingming Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day holiday, which was from Saturday to Monday. [Photo by Adiljan/China News Service]

Chinese people let loose their desire to travel over the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday this past weekend, turning the three-day break into a boost for recovery of the domestic tourism market.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Monday that the latest figures show that the tourism industry is in a strong and stable recovery.

During the Saturday-to-Monday holiday, Chinese travelers made about 102 million trips to domestic destinations, a year-on-year rise of 144.6 percent and about 94.5 percent of the level in 2019, before the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Revenue generated over the holiday was about 27.2 billion yuan ($4.1 billion), up 228.9 percent year-on-year, about 56.7 percent of the revenue created during the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, according to the ministry.

Travel agencies said that several of their business sections have even outperformed 2019, when the market was not depressed by the pandemic.

Beijing was the most popular attraction for travelers, while also the single greatest source of travelers visiting other parts of the country. Many of those Beijingers had remained in the city during the Spring Festival holiday and appeared primed for a trip.

Figures from Qunar, an online travel agency, said that airline tickets it sold for flights departing from Beijing rose by 60 percent over the holiday compared with the same period of 2019, marking the greatest growth nationwide.

Lan Xiang, Qunar's data research director, said that people's suppressed wanderlust, due to control measures against the coronavirus, was satisfied over the recent break, and the holiday may just be a preview of travel booms during the upcoming May Day and summer holidays.

According to Group, another online agency, reservations made on its platform for tour packages for the Tomb Sweeping Day break saw a surge of 300 percent year-on-year. Reservations for hotel rooms and attraction tickets also reflected a strong recovery.

Many travelers showed a preference for hotels with high-quality services and attractive views. Hotel reservations on the platform rose by 20 percent over the same period in 2019.

Attractions like the Shanghai Disney Resort and the Palace Museum in Beijing also registered strong attendance figures. Group said it saw reservations for attraction tickets increase by 232 percent during the break, compared with 2019.

Given the length of the break, most travelers chose shorter trips, enjoying the blossoming of spring flowers and cultural experiences at attractions near their homes, said Zou Qingling, CEO of Lvmama, an online travel provider.

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