More than 100 million passenger trips are expected across China during the upcoming three-day Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Duanwu Festival, according to industry data on Thursday, pointing to fresh signs of stead recovery in China's tourism sector, though travel in certain areas will be impacted by new COVID-19 cases.
Online travel booking platform Ctrip said that bookings on its platform for the Duanwu Festival holiday has increased 135 percent year-on-year, with flight bookings reaching the same level during the same period in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
China Railway also estimated that the passenger trips from June 11 to 15 will recover to the same level before the pandemic.
An analyst from Ctrip said that recent COVID-19 cases in some areas have not affected the overall tourism market. "The overall successful control of the epidemic boosted the development of domestic tourism industry and the industry may soon recover to the same level before the COVID-19 outbreak," said the analyst.
However, new COVID-19 infections in South China's Guangdong Province may impact the local tourism market. Guangzhou, the provincial capital, topped the list of most popular travel destinations during the May Day holiday, but it dropped to number nine during the Duanwu Festival, according Chinese online travel agency LY.com.
Online travel agencies also said that expenditure for long-distance journeys during the Duanwu Festival holiday was lower than that during both the May Day holiday and the Qingming Festival.
Qunar, another online booking platform, told Global Times that flight tickets for long-distance travels during the Duanwu Festival is much lower due to a temporary surplus of flight tickets.
Jia Jianqiang, CEO of 6renyou, an online tourism agency in Beijing, told Global Times that people's willingness for long-distance travel was compressed by the previous 5-day May Day holiday and the coming summer vacation. "Three-day-off for Duanwu Festival is just one day more than a weekend, therefore most people choose short-distance tour by cars or high-speed trains," said Jia.
Data from Ctrip also showed that half of their users signed up for short-distance tours within 300 kilometers and 60 percent of them chose to travel within provinces. Some travel products themed with traditional culture also gained popularity during the Duanwu Festival, with bookings increasing 365 percent.