Beijing, Oct 3 (EFE).- Local tourism in China doubled its figures compared to last year in the first days of the “golden week,” as the National Day holidays are known, the official China Daily newspaper reported Monday.
The number of day travelers participating in local tours or traveling to surrounding regions almost doubled compared to the same holiday in 2021, possibly influenced by the request made by Chinese authorities demanding that citizens limit their travel until the end of October.
The government’s objective is to avoid possible outbreaks of Covid-19 during this period of time, which began Saturday and includes the year’s most important holiday week for the domestic tourism sector and the next communist party congress.
According to online travel agencies, the volume of bookings made at guesthouses in the popular mountainous and rural district of Miyun, belonging to the capital Beijing, was three times higher in a year-on-year comparison.
Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Chongqing occupied the top five positions Saturday among the cities with the highest number of reservations made to visit the main local attractions.
“Having more people traveling locally will help expand the growth potential of the resources,” said Shen Jiani of the research institute of Trip.com, China’s largest online travel agency.
Zhou Weihong, from the Springtour agency, said in statements collected by China Daily that the organization of local tours has become a new growth opportunity for agencies.
A growing local tourism influenced by the Chinese policy of zero tolerance against the coronavirus. For more than two years, this has included the isolation of all those infected and their close contacts, the closure of borders to tourism and quarantine for all travelers, the limitation of international flights and massive PCR testing campaigns wherever a case is detected.
That’s why China’s Transport Ministry said some 210 million road trips will be made during the holiday, 30 percent less than the same time last year.
Train travel in the country is also expected to see a 50 percent drop, with some 68.5 million passengers between Sep. 28 and Oct. 8, according to state television network CGTN.
The country has suffered waves of outbreaks attributed to the omicron variant in recent months, causing record numbers of infections not seen since the start of the pandemic in the first half of 2020, resulting in the total or partial confinement of large cities such as Shanghai, Chengdu and a considerable economic impact.
Chinese health authorities said last month that the strategy is “the most economical and scientific” for the country because “it quickly detects new infections and contains the spread at the lowest cost and as soon as possible.”
According to official Chinese accounts, since the start of the pandemic, 251,040 people have been infected in the country and 5,226 have died, although the total number of infected people excludes asymptomatic people. EFE