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    Visitor numbers blossom amid spring's colorful arrival

    By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-23 07:59
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    Visitors aboard tourist boats enjoy rapeseed flowers in Qianduo, Xinghua city, Jiangsu province. The city is hosting a rapeseed flower festival that runs through May 8.[Photo/Xinhua]

    With the pandemic situation under control domestically and spring blooms blossoming across the country, travelers are eager to travel again.

    Flights to and from Beijing doubled right after the capital announced on March 12 that it no longer requires those arriving from other low-risk areas to undergo nucleic acid tests or two weeks of health monitoring from March 16, according to major online travel agency Trip.com.

    Previously, those from low-risk areas needed to present a negative nucleic acid test result taken seven days before their arrival to Beijing and undergo further tests after they arrive in the capital.

    All areas on the Chinese mainland have now been deemed low-risk areas.

    "Clearing high-risk areas in China is undoubtedly great news to the tourism industry," says Zhang Li, CEO of the tourism channel division in Trip.com.

    Based on data from the company, Zhang says the transaction volume is doubling every day, nearly 10 times that during Spring Festival.

    "The improvement of tourist confidence is stimulating the recovery of tourism," says Zhang, adding that product innovation is important to cover all types of tourists.

    Air ticket price reduction has also increased the enthusiasm of travelers, especially in flower appreciation tours. According to figures from Trip.com, the average price of an economy class ticket before tax in March is 500 yuan ($77), a decrease of about 20 percent as compared with the same period in 2019.

    Searches for flights to Beijing for the Labor Day holiday are seven times that of the same period in 2019, and related bookings increased by 240 percent, based on figures from the online travel agency.

    Flights connecting Beijing and Shanghai to Hainan province's Sanya are among the most popular.

    As of mid-March, bookings of scenic spot tickets for the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday in April rose about 10 percent as compared with the same period in 2019.

    Shanghai, Sichuan province's Chengdu, Chongqing and Yunnan province's Kunming are among the most popular destinations chosen by travelers.

    Fang Zexi, an industry analyst at Trip.com's research institute, says tourist numbers plummeted by more than 60 percent during the holiday period last April due to the pandemic.

    However, Fang says current bookings of air tickets, hotels, car rentals, scenic spot tickets and cross-provincial tours have all greatly improved.

    The number of tourist visits is expected to reach 100 million for the April holiday this year.

    By analyzing booking data, more than half of travelers favor short-distance self-drive tours during the April holiday. Fruit picking and theme parks are popular activities among families.

    Scenic spots have also launched special programs to enhance visitor experience.

    Ticket bookings for the Taoist Qiyun Mountain in Anhui province have increased by 40 percent compared with that in 2019.

    Visitors can experience traditional Chinese music, tea making and tasting, incense burning and illustrations-all dating back 1,000 years.

    Travelers will also see golden rapeseed flowers carpeting the mountain during the Tomb Sweeping holiday.

    According to the China Tourism Academy, China's tourism sector has so far shown a strong recovery this year and is expected to continue its current momentum as the country relaxes travel restrictions amid a stable COVID-19 situation.

    Demand for leisure travel in cities, vacations in the suburbs, family trips and study tours has shown a strong upward trend.

    The latest data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China shows the country's civil aviation industry handling approximately 23.95 million passenger trips in February, a jump of 187.1 percent year-on-year.

    Online travel agency Qunar says passenger traffic on domestic routes has returned to the level seen during the same period in 2019.

    Tourism industry insiders say people are using the coming holidays to make up for the trips they had missed earlier.

    According to a report from the tourism academy, an estimated total of 4.1 billion domestic tourist trips will be made in China this year, up 42 percent from last year. Domestic tourism revenue is expected to surge 48 percent to reach 3.3 trillion yuan.

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