Short-distance trips top choice for China’s New Year tourists

Cities such as Beijing and Shanghai witnessed their attractions reach beyond local residents to people from neighboring provinces.


Tourists stroll at Yuyuantan Park in Beijing on Jan 3. [Photo/Xinhua]

January 5, 2022

Due to increasing awareness of COVID-19 containment measures, short-distance tours were the main choice for Chinese travelers over the recent New Year’s Day holiday, according to travel agencies.

Data cited by agencies show that some first-tier cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, witnessed their attractions reach beyond local residents to people from neighboring provinces. Ski resorts were preferred by those taking day trips or short-distance tours over the three-day break. Group, an online travel agency, said that most of its users went on short-distance trips over the holiday, with nearly 60 percent of them traveling within their own provinces.

It said that on Saturday, the first day of the holiday, reservations for attraction tickets made by day-trippers saw a year-on-year increase of 264 percent.

The popularity of short-distance tours was also seen by Lvmama, another online travel portal, which said that 80 percent of its users traveled to destinations near where they live or work. It said in a recent report that people’s choice of short-distance tours over the New Year’s Day holiday was double that of ordinary weekends.

According to Lvmama, Zhuhai and Guangzhou in Guangdong province, plus Shanghai and Beijing were the most popular destinations for users who chose short-distance trips over the break.

Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism statistics showed that the city received more than 3.44 million visits to its 166 tourist attractions during the holiday, registering a year-on-year growth of 72.4 percent. The boom brought the city revenue of more than 315 million yuan ($49.4 million), doubling the amount from the same period last year.

In addition to attractions in urban areas, Beijing also saw a tourism boom in its rural areas over the holiday. The culture and tourism bureau said that about 487,000 visits were made by urban residents to the countryside, 4.9 times higher than the previous year. The growing visits brought in revenue of over 81 million yuan to rural areas.

Wei Changren, general manager of tourism industry analysis site, said that short-distance tours lured more travelers as authorities at different levels tightened epidemic prevention and containment policies due to ongoing sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks.

“While cross-provincial and long-distance travel are regulated accordingly (due to virus containment concerns), some winter travel and skiing tourism events enjoyed popularity among travelers. In the northern cities, skiing is a rather important form of entertainment for their residents. People’s passion for winter events is growing as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics approaches,” he added.

According to the latest figures by TravelGo, another travel portal, reservations for hotels surrounding ski resorts at its platform increased by 140 percent from a month ago. Ticket orders for ski resorts rose by 110 percent during the holiday and increased by 220 percent for snow-theme parks month-on-month.

The popularity of short-distance tours also benefited the hotels and homestays in the vicinity of some big cities.

Zheng Guangqiang, director of Dream House, a company focusing on homestay operations under the Xband Tourism Group headquartered in Shanghai, said that trips to the suburbs of big cities recovered over the holiday.

“We received 15,000 travelers at our homestay during the three-day break, seeing a 100-percent rise compared with the same period a year ago,” he said. “With epidemic containment measures being normalized, people are gradually taking trips. Of course, short-distance ones are preferred, and we are confident that the situation will get better in the near future.”

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