How coronavirus shaped China Tourism Day 2020


Visitors visit the Happy Valley theme park in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, May 19, 2020. (Photo: VCG)

May 19 marks the 10th year of China Tourism Day, a national occasion to encourage more people to travel to boost the domestic tourism sector. But this year, things are a bit different due to the unprecedented novel coronavirus outbreak.

The festival is happening at a time when nationwide epidemic prevention and control measures are still in place, and outbound travel is out of the question. Even for trips to other cities in China, many travelers would probably think twice.

The past May Day holiday witnessed a domestic tourism peak with a new trend since the COVID-19 outbreak, as more Chinese opted for local and nearby tourist attractions and preferred road trips. This has given some ideas to scenic spots for recovery in the immediate future. 

Last year on China Tourism Day, which fell on a Sunday, there was a nationwide tourism boom with large scale discounted admissions as well as various themed events at tourist attractions. Long queues at popular scenic sites were a common sight.

However, the country is seeing a relatively quieter day this year, likely due to it being a weekday. But more importantly, many cities have moved tours online. 

Beijing, for instance, launched a virtual tour taking netizens to places including the southern section of the Central Axis and Baili Landscape Gallery in the suburban Yanqing District to experience the unknown charm of the city.

Xi'an, a city known for its Terracotta Warriors in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, offered a 10-hour livestreaming tour for travelers to enjoy six of its renowned historical sites, such as the City Wall and Datang Everbright City.

Aside from online trips, a number of tourist sites in cities across the country have also offered travelers special discounts and coupons to promote the travel industry either on the day or during the week. At the same time, they are keeping a series of precautionary measures in place.

The city of Yangzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, also organized events to showcase its intangible cultural heritage and craftsmanship to the locals.

To find out more about the origin of the festival, please go to: China Tourism Day: A festival you may not know