Tourism market ‘sizzling’ with cultural venues favored

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Chinese tourists traveled further than usual over the eight-day Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, with cultural venues gaining popularity and the inbound tourism market witnessing a strong rebound, domestic travel operators said on Saturday.

China’s tourism market was “sizzling” during the winter holiday as tourist attractions across the nation were crowded with travelers. The reservation slots for attractions such as the Palace Museum, Terra Cotta Warriors and Hunan Museum were fully booked on several days. The economy-class air tickets from popular beach resort Sanya to Shanghai were sold out with the holiday drawing to an end, leaving only 10,000-yuan options to those eager to return home.

Long-distance orders accounted for more than 65 percent of the total, and more than 70 percent of tourists spent over four days traveling during the holiday, according to major travel review website Mafengwo. Some 37.7 percent tourists traveled more than six days.

Destinations featuring guofeng (China-chic) style such as Xi’an were popular during the holiday. The CCTV Spring Festival Gala, also known as “chunwan,” on Chinese New Year’s Eve, further boosted its popularity as the city was a sub-venue of the gala with its popularity index surging 400 percent from normal.

Visits to museums, grottoes and temples were new popular options of the holiday in addition to traditional lantern and temple fairs. The Palace Museum, Sanxingdui Museum, National Museum of China and Nanjing Museum were among the most popular 10 cultural attractions during the holiday, according to Mafengwo.

Instead of a short visit, many wanted professional guides at museums in pursuit of an in-depth tour, it said.

Another online travel operator Tuniu said traditional Chinese cultural celebration activities such as temple and lantern fairs were favored, and a number of cultural venues such as the Palace Museum, Nanjing Museum and Suzhou Museum were fully reserved during the holiday.

Scenic spots with names containing the Chinese character 龙 (loong) such as Yalong Bay, Yulong Snow Mountain, Longji Terrace and Longmen Grottoes were extremely popular, it said.

Some traditional popular outbound destinations among Chinese travelers in Southeast Asia also welcomed a large number of Chinese tourists under preferential visa policies.

Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, all implementing a visa-free policy for Chinese travelers at present, were among the most popular outbound destinations during the holiday. New Zealand and Australia were also favored as they are in off-season, according to Tuniu.

Shanghai-based online travel operator Trip.com said its domestic tour, inbound and outbound travel orders during this year’s Spring Festival holiday all surpassed that of the same period in 2019.

Interprovincial travel orders accounted for 57 percent of all orders, doubling that of last year. Ice and snow destinations like Harbin, Changchun and Shenyang and beach resorts such as Sanya and Haikou are popular domestic destinations, it said.

The travel boom has led to a 20 percent increase in domestic air tickets’ price from the same period last year, hitting 1,200 yuan on average for a single trip. The average price of domestic ticketing and entertainment orders has reached more than 400 yuan during the holiday, doubling last year’s Spring Festival holiday.

Inbound travel orders soared 48 percent from the same period in 2019 under a series of preferential policies spurring inbound tourism, according to Trip.com.

Japan, the United States, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia were major source markets of inbound travelers, it said.

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