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Tourism flourishes as Dragon Boat Festival brings traditional charm

By CHENG SI | | Updated: 2024-06-10 20:16
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Dozens of dragon boats compete in a creek, with crowds of people gathering on both banks and stone bridges, in Sanxi village, Jiangtian town, Changle district, Fuzhou city, Fujian province, June 9, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

Traditional cultural celebrations added a special touch to popular tourism destinations during the just-completed Dragon Boat Festival, the first Chinese holiday listed as UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage in 2009.

Travel agencies reported that the three-day holiday, from Saturday to Monday, was less crowded this year due to its overlap with China's annual national college entrance examination, the gaokao, which began on Friday. However, destinations featuring traditional Chinese cultures or celebrations, such as dragon boat races, were still bustling with people.

"South China's Guangdong province, with its long history and strong atmosphere of dragon boat racing, saw searches for its tour products double on our platform during the holiday," said travel portal Qunar.

In addition to dragon boat races, the festival is celebrated with customs and events such as making zongzi (sticky rice dumplings), hanging bunches of mugwort, and drinking medicinal liquor for good health and blessings.

Shi Yuanyuan, 28, from Shenzhen in Guangdong province, took her 3-year-old son to watch the dragon boat races in Foshan city. "It was his first time seeing real dragon boats, and he was so excited! He may not know the historical connotation of the holiday, but I think it's a good experience for him to feel the holiday vibe and team spirit through the races," she said. "It only took about two hours to drive from Shenzhen to Foshan, which is convenient. We spent one night there and tasted a lot of delicious food."

According to travel portal Tuniu, the most popular destinations during the holiday included Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou in Guangdong, Nanjing in Jiangsu province, and Chongqing in Southwest China.

Some overseas destinations with shorter travel times also saw a significant number of Chinese travelers. "Japan, Thailand, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Malaysia, and South Korea were top choices during the holiday thanks to their shorter flight times. Cross-border cruises were also in high demand, with bookings surging 14 times year-on-year," said online travel agency Fliggy.

Qunar added that taking an overseas trip during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday offers good value, as tour prices are expected to rise in the coming summer holiday. The prices of international flights dropped by 20 percent year-on-year during the holiday, and hotel prices at overseas destinations remained around 70 percent of the prices in July and August, the peak season for summer tourism. "So far, we've seen sales of international flights with departure dates during the holiday rise over 60 percent year-on-year," Qunar said.

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