People visit the Yuyuan Garden during the week-long National Day holiday in Shanghai, Oct 2, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Chinese people have spent more time on leisure activities this year compared with the period before the novel coronavirus hit, according to a recent report by the China Tourism Academy.
The academy said that urban residents' leisure time is closely related to their work. They have spent more time on leisure activities on weekends this year, about 4.4 hours a day, compared with an average of 3.82 hours a day on workdays.
It said that urban residents' leisure time has increased both at weekends and during holidays this year when compared with 2019.Daily weekend leisure time has increased by 0.91 of an hour and that during holidays by 0.64 of an hour.
The time that people in rural areas spend enjoying leisure activities has risen nearly 39 percent compared with 2019, increasing to 4.36 hours a day from 3.14 hours before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Shopping at physical stores remains the most popular leisure activity for both urban residents and people in the countryside, followed by activities like facial treatments, hairdressing and manicures.
"Shopping is my favorite way to give vent to my negative emotions and pressure, also for leisure," said Li Lingli, a 28-year-old financial analyst in Beijing.
She said she has quite a heavy workload on workdays and also on weekends, meaning she doesn't have much time to enjoy other leisure activities, especially outdoor ones like camping or hiking.
The report said it will be difficult to increase people's leisure time in the future due to the large amount of time they spend working and looking after children.
A recent survey by the academy shows that 50 percent of urban residents work over eight hours a day and 15 percent work over 10 hours a day.
"Heavy workload is truly a big problem," Li said. "For me, as long as I don't message or email back my clients, it's my leisure time. I sometimes go to museums or exhibitions over holidays. It's also a good form of leisure to appreciate beautiful art pieces."
Dai Bin, chairman of the academy, said at an online conference that with more rural residents spending time on leisure activities thanks to the nation's rural vitalization policy, the tourism market and travel companies will embrace new growth in the future.