More people decide to take shorter trips close to home during Mid-Autumn break
An aerial photo shows people taking bamboo rafts to appreciate scenery during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday in the Wuyishan National Park, Southeast China's Fujian province, on Sept 11, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Domestic tourism declined due to the unpredictable COVID-19 situation and restrictive policies that dented people's enthusiasm for long-distance travel over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, official figures showed.
The latest figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Monday show that the domestic market saw over 73.4 million trips over the three-day break from Saturday to Monday, a decrease of 16.7 percent year-on-year. The number of trips was around 73 percent of that in the same period of 2019 before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Revenue generated during the holiday was about 28.7 billion yuan ($4.15 billion), falling by 22.8 percent year-on-year, said the ministry. The number was roughly 61 percent of that back in 2019.
Travel agencies, however, gave relatively sanguine views of the market's performance over the holiday.
Trip.com Group, an online travel agency, said in a report that the daily average number of bookings on its platform saw a double-digit growth above normal during the holiday, and double that during the Tomb-Sweeping Day holiday and May Day holiday back in April and May.
Facing uncertainty with regard to travel restrictions in certain places across the country, many instead chose to take short trips closer to home.
For example, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council released a notice on Sept 8 that people are encouraged to spend their holidays close to home to avoid any possible outbreaks as a result of large-scale population flows.
It said that from Saturday to Oct 31, travelers should have a negative nucleic acid test result to take flights, trains, buses and ferries for cross-provincial trips.
According to Tuniu, another travel agency, nearly 70 percent of its users made short trips on their breaks, and destinations such as Shanghai Disney Resort and Universal Beijing Resort were popular choices for day-trippers.
Trip.com Group said that thanks to the increase in short-distance tours, rural homestays also welcomed more guests. It said that over 70 percent of its users booked rural homestays during the holiday to enjoy home activities such as making mooncakes and lanterns, and appreciating the moon.
"My family booked a homestay in Pinggu district for the holiday. There are so many uncertainties traveling due to epidemic control policies in different places," said Yan Ping, a 34-year-old from Beijing. "We picked peaches, which are a specialty of the district and made mooncakes with other families at the homestay. It was quite a good experience for my little son, and for my wife and myself as well."
Lvmama, an online travel agency, said that Huangxian Forest Park in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, organized parties to celebrate the holiday, which included events like afternoon tea, a moon-appreciating cocktail party and some Chinese traditional activities praying for good luck.
The park's visits rose 17-fold year-on-year during the holiday.