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Festive holiday bodes well for tourism rebound

By Cheng Si | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-26 07:11
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Locals perform a dragon dance during a molten iron firework show to celebrate Spring Festival in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, on Jan 24, 2023. [PHOTO by HU YUANJIA/FOR CHINA DAILY]

The ongoing Spring Festival holiday has blown a trumpet for the nation's tourism recovery, which is witnessing a robust rebound,thanks to optimized COVID-19 control measures.

Southwest China's Sichuan province said that as of Tuesday, the fourth day of the seven-day holiday,the number of visitors to its 15 attractions rated 5A — China's highest ranking — had hit a record high for attendance since 2020. As of Wednesday, the 15 attractions saw a year-on-year increase of about 48 percent in the number of travelers, while ticket revenue was 64 percent higher than during the same period last year.

The number of visits reached its capacity at some of the province's attractions, including Mount Emei,famous for its breathtaking views,and the Sanxingdui Museum, whose exhibits showcase the nation's ancient civilization.

A report from Hubei province in Central China was also encouraging.According to the province's bureau of culture and tourism, Hubei had received 17.62 million visits as of 3 pm on Tuesday, a year-on-year increase of 26 percent. Tourism-related revenue was about 9.92 billion yuan ($1.46 billion) during the four days — 33.83 percent more than in the same period last year.

Visitors at a museum in Guanghan, Sichuan province, take photos on Jan 24, 2023 of a gold mask discovered among the Sanxingdui Ruins. [PHOTO by LI DONG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Figures from travel agencies confirmed the boom in the tourism market during the Spring Festival holiday. Group, for example, said that hotels, homestays and ticket bookings for tourist attractions all outperformed those in 2019- the year before COVID-19 hit — in the first four days of the holiday. It also said that homestay bookings doubled in the first four days compared with the same period last year, and sales of tickets for attractions rose 50 percent year-on-year.

At the holiday's halfway point,travelers began planning their return trips. Travel portal Qunar said that most of its users set their return trips for between Thursday and Jan 31, and the market will see a return-travel peak on Friday — the last day of the holiday.

Guo Lechun, deputy director of Qunar's big data academy, said that the number of returning travelers will surge compared with that of the early period of the Spring Festival travel rush, which started on Jan 7 and will end on Feb 15.

"We estimate that the passenger volume of the year's Spring Festival travel rush will recover to 80 percent of that in 2019, which is a good start for this year's tourism industry," he said.

Early on Monday, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism released a notice reminding travelers to protect their safety and health during holiday trips. The ministry said people should not go to dangerous areas such as riverbanks and the edges of cliffs, as well as off-limits places where safety and security cannot be guaranteed.

Travelers were also encouraged to consider their own health condition when participating in high-risk recreational activities, and to prepare masks and other anti-COVID supplies.

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