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China Focus: China expects May Day travel boom with anti-epidemic measures in place

Abstract : In a few days, China's airports, train stations and tourist sites will be filled with buzzing travelers and tourists while regular COVID-19 containment measures remain in place.

Photo taken on June 27, 2020 shows tourists experiencing surfing in Tenghai village of Sanya, south China’s Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Liyun)

BEIJING,
April 27 (Xinhua) — In a few days, China’s airports, train stations
and tourist sites will be filled with buzzing travelers and tourists
while regular COVID-19 containment measures remain in place.

A
travel bonanza is fast approaching as tickets during the upcoming
five-day Labor Day holiday starting on May 1 have been in high demand.

“The
holiday gives me a chance to escape from the stress of work,” said
Zhang Chuanshi, 35, who works for an internet company. He decided to go
to Yunnan after Beijing scrapped mandatory nucleic acid tests for
arrivals from areas with low COVID-19 infection risks.

Zhang said his family had to drop their overseas travel plans due to concerns over the epidemic situation.

SPEEDY RECOVERY

Leading
indicators such as search volumes for travel destinations, flights and
hotels suggest the tourism industry will embrace a welcome boom during
the holiday.

On
online travel booking platform Ctrip, orders for flight tickets,
accommodation, admission tickets, and car rentals rose 23 percent, 43
percent, 114 percent and 126 percent from the same period of 2019 as of
mid-April.

The
number of travelers over the period is expected to reach 200 million
and surpass the pre-pandemic level, according to Ctrip’s projections.

“Many
people will take advantage of the long holiday to go somewhere
relatively far from their homes, such as Xinjiang and Tibet,” said Zhao
Chenyan, an operator at Beijing Zhuyuan International Travel Service
Co., Ltd.

The
surge in demand has been met with a similar surge in prices. For
instance, the price for joining a tour to Sanya in south China’s island
province Hainan is three times higher than a year ago, as island resorts
in Thailand, Bali and the Philippines are still not fully open to
foreign tourists, she said.

“Thanks
to the effective epidemic containment measures adopted by China, the
five-day holiday is expected to unleash the pent-up demand for air
transport,” said Shang Kejia, vice director of the Department of
Transport of the Civil Aviation Administration of China(CAAC) at a press
conference on April 16.

“Both
the volume and prices of flight tickets showed rapid growth, and are
likely to rise above the level from 2019, boosted by the sharp growth in
the number of mid- and long-distance travelers in the extended
holiday,” said Shang.

Cultural
sites, including science halls, archaeological sites and museums, are
among the most popular destinations, partly because public holidays
represent the best opportunity for families with children to travel in
the middle of a semester.

This
year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China, which has
fueled people’s enthusiasm for “red tourism,” a term referring to
visiting historical sites with a revolutionary legacy.

People visit the Sanxingdui Museum in Guanghan City, southwest China’s Sichuan Province on April 4, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Mengqi)

“We
have rolled out a two-week tour to retrace the Long March route of the
Red Army in the 1930s, which has attracted many retired people who have
the money and time as well as the desire to pay their respects to the
heroes,” said Zhao.

Recent
discoveries at the Sanxingdui Ruins in southwest China’s Chengdu City,
which unveiled the mysteries of the Shu Kingdom dating back thousands of
years, could be partially responsible for the Beijing-Chengdu flight
route enjoying the largest rise in popularity among all routes on online
travel service provider Qunar.com.

EPIDEMIC PRECAUTIONS

As
China’s COVID-19 vaccination program is expanding and domestic
travelers coming from areas with low infection risks are no longer
required to undergo nucleic acid tests, people are now more comfortable
going on a trip, said Zhao.

“However,
we still require our clients to wear face masks throughout their
journey and our staff to sterilize the buses twice a day,” she said.

Passengers
operate automatic check-in machines at Baiyun International Airport in
Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong Province, April 26, 2021. (Xinhua/Tian Jianchuan)

The
CAAC has advised passengers to maintain anti-epidemic measures, use
self-service check-in facilities to reduce direct contact with other
people and notify staff if they develop symptoms include fever, dry
cough or fatigue.

Passengers
are urged to pay close attention to the epidemic situation and related
regulations of their destination, and avoid traveling to places with a
medium or high risk of infection, the CAAC noted.

In
the first quarter of 2021, China recorded 136 percent and 150 percent
increases in tourist trips and tourism revenue from a year earlier,
respectively, data from the China Tourism Academy (CTA) showed.

A
survey by the academy suggested that over 83 percent of the respondents
said they are willing to travel in the second quarter of 2021, up 1.02
percentage points and 4.93 percentage points compared with the last
quarter and the second quarter of 2020, respectively.

“China’s
tourism consumption is enjoying a speedy recovery. It will see a
consumption boom in the third quarter of this year, especially during
the weeklong National Day holiday,” said Dai Bin, director of the
academy.

According
to the CTA, 4.1 billion domestic tourist trips are expected to be made
in China in 2021, up 42 percent from 2020, and domestic tourism revenue
is expected to surge 48 percent to reach 3.3 trillion yuan (about 508
billion U.S. dollars).

About Xinhua Silk Road

Xinhua Silk Road (en.imsilkroad.com) is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) portal. China’s silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road website, include BRI Policy, BRI Trade, BRI Investment, Belt and Road weekly, Know Belt and Road, and the integrated information services for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Source: China Focus: China expects May Day travel boom with anti-epidemic measures in place

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