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Tourism sector sees boom during May Day holiday

By CHENG SI | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-01 06:57

Tourists view a lion dance performance in Foshan, Guangdong province, on Saturday. [PHOTO/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

The nation's tourism market is expected to see its best post-COVID performance during the ongoing May Day holiday, said industry insiders, who added that it may also be a turning point in the recovery of the sector.

Early on Friday — the day before the holiday started — train tickets for departures from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to destinations nationwide were sold out.

Latest figures from China State Railway Group Company show that the railway system nationwide ran 12,064 passenger trains and handled 19.66 million trips in total on Saturday, both a record high. And travelers taking flights also registered a record high on Saturday of around 2.04 million, up 441.8 percent year-on-year, according to civil aviation authorities.

Tourism destinations were also overwhelmed by travelers. Shanghai's tourism authorities said that the city received over 3.06 million visits from tourists on Saturday.

"I've never imagined such a huge population of travelers. It really blew my mind," said Wang Yalu, a 32-year-old from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, who is enjoying her holiday in Sanya, a coastal city in Hainan province, for a four-day trip with her family. She said that she booked the trip a month ago. "It's a very good time to take a family trip, but the price is quite high. The trip cost us almost 20,000 yuan ($2,900)."

The Humble Administrator's Garden — a traditional Chinese garden and World Culture Heritage Site in Suzhou, Jiangsu province — received about 22,800 visits on Saturday. All tickets from Sunday to Tuesday had already been sold out as of Saturday, according to the garden's official website.

"It's expected that Chinese travelers will make over 240 million trips during the five-day holiday, a growth of around 104 percent compared with 2019 — before the epidemic hit," Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, said in a recent interview with China Central Television. Visits and trips will generate tourism-related revenue of over 120 billion yuan, around 83 percent of the tourism revenue earned during the same period in 2019, he added.

Overseas trips are also booming. According to figures from the National Immigration Administration, the average daily number of entries and exits from China's border ports is expected to exceed 1.2 million during the holiday, double the same period in the previous year and roughly 57 percent that in 2019.

Online travel portal Trip.com said in a recent report that its users have shown a strong desire for overseas travel during the holiday.

It said that as of April 20, searches for overseas flight tickets increased by 120 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

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