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Northerners head south for warmth

By Cheng Si | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-09 08:02
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Tourists enjoy food at Lijiang ancient town, Southwest China's Yunnan province, Jan 7, 2024. Yunnan has attracted legions of tourists this winter due to its mild climate. [Photo/Xinhua]

While people from southern provinces are attracted to the snowy winter scenery in North China, people from the north are swarming to southern destinations for the Spring Festival holiday to enjoy the warmth and sunny beaches.

Figures from online travel agency Group show that, compared with last year, twice as many Spring Festival holiday bookings have been made on its platform for Sanya, a tropical city on the southern coast of South China's Hainan province.

Bookings for Kunming, the capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan that is known for its year-round springlike weather, are up sixfold.

In a bid to attract more tourists over the holiday, Kunming will be staging a range of cultural and tourism-related activities, including flower shows and music shows, the city's cultural and tourism bureau said, adding that discount coupons for attractions and hotels will also be given to tourists and locals.

"I grew up in Siping, in the northeastern province of Jilin, and left my hometown for college in Shanghai in 2011 and then for work in Shenzhen in 2015," said Yang Ping, a 31-year-old financial analyst. "I prefer warmer weather, and my wife and I have decided to spend Spring Festival in Shenzhen this year."

He said they married two years ago and his wife, from Shanghai, had yet to adapt to the cold climate in Siping.

"We plan to spend three days in Shenzhen and then go to Macao for a three-day stay," Yang said.

Online searches and bookings for warmer destinations have risen sharply in recent weeks.

Tujia, a homestay booking platform, said the majority of customers making Spring Festival holiday bookings on its platform were from Beijing and the northeastern cities of Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin.

Travel portal said searches for Sanya were up 302 percent since January, and those for the Zhoushan Islands in the eastern province of Zhejiang were up 242 percent.

Mo Xiaoyan, a homestay operator in Pinggang village in Guangzhou, the capital of South China's Guangdong province, has been offering a warm welcome to people from northern cities since 2016.

Her homestay receives many people who choose to stay in Guangzhou for the Spring Festival holiday every year, rather than return to their hometowns in northern provinces, which have beautiful snow views but freezing temperatures.

"They usually come here for family trips as we have distinctive folk activities during the Spring Festival holiday, for example, the lion dance," Mo said. "The villagers organize a lion dance on the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and the boisterous event will start in the morning and last till the afternoon.

"We will have many other activities, such as a bonfire party and making leaf rubbings (handicrafts made by imprinting leaves on paper) during the holiday. Guests can also experience fruit and vegetable picking and taste organic chicken and fish in the village."

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