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County travel craze sparks tourism market potential

More people seeking holidays at quieter, low-key destinations, experts say

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-21 07:08

People visit Putuo Zongcheng Temple in Chengde, Hebei province, on May 2. DU LIANYI/CHINA DAILY

Glowing attractions

During the May Day holiday, a wooden pagoda in Yingxian county, Shanxi province, with a history dating back almost 1,000 years attracted droves of travelers. The county saw local homestay bookings surge by 180 percent year-on-year during the holiday, the online service platform Meituan reported.

In Pingtan county, Fujian province, the stunning natural phenomenon known as "blue tears "drew big crowds of tourists and photographers over the holiday. The luminous blue waters are caused by the chemical reaction called bioluminescence.

More than 310,000 tickets for the coastal scenic spot were sold on the Meituan platform during the vacation.

"Walk-in guests who didn't make reservations were still coming in and asking if we had spare rooms," said Gao Huan, who runs a hotel near the blue tear site in Pingtan.

The hotel's 88 rooms were booked out for the holiday.

The visitors to Pingtan were mainly young people who had come from other provinces, especially self-driving tourists from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, Gao said.

Li Jian, general manager of China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corp's Anji Tourism Development Co, said the company has seen Anji's charm embraced by many visitors from big cities who enjoy the county's slower pace.

The company signed a tourism agreement with the Anji county government more than a decade ago, and has since worked to build up tourism facilities there.

"The county enjoys a great geographical position, about a twohour drive from Shanghai and Hangzhou, and has done a good job in upgrading the rural environment," Li said.

"It was already attracting urban travelers to take a walk around, so we decided to invest in it," he added.

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