Two holidays in one see a record number of travelers

China’s eight-day National Day holiday is expected to see more than 700 million people journeys, equivalent to a tenth of the global population, according to official data.

This is an increase of more than 70 percent, in domestic travelers, over the 428 million trips of four years ago, in 2013. The number of domestic trips had already reached 663 million as of Saturday, the seventh day of the holiday, with tourist spending amounting to more than 549 billion yuan ($82.5 billion), according to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

National Day, on October 1, was combined with the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, on October 4, and extended the normally week-long holiday to eight days this year.

Li Mingde, a former vice president of Beijing Tourism Society, in commenting on the holiday, told the Global Times Sunday, “Tourism has become a regular part of life for the Chinese over the years. After people stopped worrying about getting enough to eat, they started spending money on leisure activities.”

In both the cities and the suburbs, tourism has gone mainstream across China, as outdoor sports, museums, and other forms of amusement gain in popularity, according to the CNTA.

This year, fewer traffic accidents and less uncivilized behavior were reported during the holidays, a sign of how governments at all levels have been taking tourist safety and tourism quality more seriously, Li said.

Outbound tourism

For the period, more than 6 million Chinese were expected to travel abroad, according to Ctrip, an online travel agency. Since 2012, China has become the largest source of outgoing tourists, accounting for a large amount of global tourism, the CNTA quoted Zhu Shanzhong, the executive director of the World Tourism Organization, as saying.

In line with this, 65 countries and regions are providing visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to Chinese citizens and, during this year’s National Day holiday, 88 countries and regions received Chinese visitors, versus 68 countries last year, the CCTV reported.

One reason that more countries are making the visit easier for Chinese tourists is the huge consumer spending they bring, which helps the local economy, said Jiang Yiyi, director of international tourism development at the Beijing-based China Tourism Academy, in a talk with the Global Times on Sunday.

Ctrip data shows Thailand, Japan, and Singapore are the most popular holiday destinations for Chinese, while South Korea, this year, has seen a 7 percent drop in Chinese visitors.

This makes Southeast and Northeast Asia the favorite holiday spots for Chinese but, Jiang added, the political situation abroad also affects the choices of Chinese tourists.

High-speed economies

Meanwhile, China’s railways have certainly been busy hauling people around to tourist attractions or back home for a family reunion, the China Railway Corporation (CRC) said Saturday. The Chinese made about 105 million trips by rail after the travel rush started on September 28, and 40 percent of them were by high-speed trains.

China has the world’s largest high-speed rail network, with a total of 22,000 kilometers in all, the CRC says.

In relation to this, Li said high-speed trains are no longer a novelty to Chinese, and they have shortened the travel time and made holiday travel more comfortable and convenient.

Source: Global Times

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