Chinese-built Nairobi Expressway marks 10 mln users milestone

An expressway cuts through Nairobi on May 14. (Photo: Xinhua)The 27.1 km Nairobi Expressway, built by a Chinese firm under a public-private partnership model on Tuesday honored ten million motorists who have used it since its official launch in July 2022.Senior officials, executives and ordinary motorists graced the occasion to mark the ten million users milestone on the modern thoroughfare that has eased movement from the southern tip of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi where the main airport is located, to the upmarket Westlands district.Joseph Mbugua, the Principal Secretary for Roads termed the Nairobi Expressway an iconic infrastructure project that has enhanced the seamless movement of people and cargo, positioning the country as a commercial and logistics hub."The Expressway has introduced efficiencies in the intermodal logistics within Nairobi and the wider East African region while improving supply chain logistics for the business operators," Mbugua said.He added that courtesy of Nairobi Expressway, conference tourism has regained luster adding that its linkage with the main airport, the Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and a host of ring roads within the capital has improved the countrys overall economic productivity.The Nairobi Expressway is a Class A highway with a four-lane dual carriageway that extends to six lanes in some sections while the thoroughfare has 15 entrances and 14 exits to guarantee motorists a seamless movement to various destinations.Construction of the Nairobi Expressway by China Road and Bridge Corporation commenced in September 2020 and its use on a trial basis started in May 2022, paving way for its official launch by the then Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta on July 31, 2022.The Expressway has cut traveling time between Nairobis Westlands district and the main airport from two hours to twenty minutes, amid relief to motorists who include tourists and entrepre...

Chiang Mai celebrates its 46th Flower Festival, aiming to revive tourism

Chiangmai (People’s Daily) - After skipping last year’s celebrations due to COVID-19, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival is back this year, from February 3 to 5. Like other years, this Flower Festival is held mainly at Nong Buak Haad Park, in the southwest corner of the old Chiang Mai city, Thailand.Photo: Yin Yue/PeoplesDailyAt the park, there are large floats adorned with flowers as well as marching bands, school groups and dancers. Since the festival is held close to the Chinese New Year, the theme of the festival is “Rabbits and the wonders of flora and fauna.”Photo: Yin Yue/Peoples DailyThe Chiang Mai Flower Festival has been running for more than 40 years and celebrates the beautiful flowers in bloom during this season. Chiang Mai, also known as the Rose of the North, is the largest city in northern Thailand and one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.Photo: Yin Yue/Peoples Daily

Thais roll out welcome for tour groups

Thailand is among the countries that welcomed the return of Chinese tour groups on Monday, complete with a ceremony held by Thai and Chinese officials in Bangkok that saw the first arrivals handed flowers and travel guides.

New rules lift prospect of outbound tourism market

After outbound tourism came to a near standstill over the past three years, tour operators are seeing a rapid recovery of the industry with travelers eager to take advantage of the nations optimized COVID-19 policies.Travelers from Hong Kong enter Shenzhen, Guangdong province, at the Lo Wu Control Point on Monday. (Photo: Xinhua)The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on Friday that travel agencies could resume booking group travel to the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions from Monday.The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council also announced on Friday the normalization of group tours between the mainland and the two SARs.Mainland and Hong Kong railway authorities have agreed to remove the requirement for passengers traveling to Hong Kong on the Guangzhou-Hong Kong High-speed Railway to present negative nucleic acid test results.Under the new policy, overseas travelers departing the two regions who havent traveled to other international destinations within seven days of departure can enter the mainland without a negative nucleic acid test result.In late January, the tourism ministry announced that starting on Monday travel agencies could resume organizing group tours to 20 countries and regions, including Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Switzerland.Thanks to the new policies, tourism operators are expecting to see a boom in outbound travel.Travel portal Tuniu said as of Monday afternoon, bookings for overseas trips on its platform had surged 324 percent from the previous day. Bookings made for outbound travel this week are double the number of those made in the previous week, the travel portal said.Early Monday, the first tour group departed from Guangzhou, Guangdong province, to travel to the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, marking the resumption of outbound group tours.Zhao Wenzhi, president of GZL International Travel Service, said more than 500 tours organized by his company were to foreign destinations."Alt...

Cambodia welcomes 1st group tour of Chinese tourists after pandemic

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Monday welcomed the first group tour of Chinese tourists after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a representative of the kingdoms tour and travel operators said.Photo: Shenzhen AirlinesA flight carrying some 140 Chinese tourists in a group tour landed at the Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday afternoon from Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, receiving a warm welcome from Cambodian tourism officials and tour operators, said Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents."Tourism Ministrys Secretary of State Hor Sarun and I greeted them at the airport upon their arrival and presented them with roses, wrist garlands, and traditional scarves," she told Xinhua via telephone.Sivlin said the tourists, on a five-day tour program, will visit capital city Phnom Penh, the cultural province Siem Reap, and the coastal province Preah Sihanouk."Were very happy to receive the first batch of Chinese tourists in a group tour today," she said. "Their comeback is crucial to help boost the recovery of our tourism industry."The arrival of the Chinese tourists came as China, one of the worlds largest outbound tourism markets in the pre-pandemic era, resumed outbound group tours.Starting from Monday, China resumed outbound group tours to 20 countries, including Cambodia, Thailand, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and New Zealand.China was the largest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia in the pre-pandemic era, a Ministry of Tourisms report said, adding that the kingdom received 2.36 million Chinese tourists in 2019, generating about 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the Southeast Asian nation is projected to attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists in 2023, an expected increase from merely 110,000 in 2022."China is the most important outbound tourism market for the world, so Chi...

Chinese mainland and SARs fully resume border travel

Cross-border travel between the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs) fully resumed on Monday, with the daily quota system and pre-departure nucleic acid test requirement cancelled.

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Tourism resumes between China and Japan after weeks-long visa spat

China has started issuing visas to Japanese citizens again, after suspending the process in January to hit back at COVID-19 measures imposed on Chinese travelers. The visa spat has had an impact on tourism in both countries.Passengers wearing face masks are seen at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 29, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)Hu Jiying, vice-general manager at China Youth Travel Service told CGTN that since Sunday, when China began issuing visas for Japanese people again, they have been in contact with their customers.The travel agency was monitoring media coverage for updates, and says the policy change came sooner than expected."People from both the Chinese and Japanese tourism industries are eagerly looking forward to the resumption of bilateral tourism exchanges. As Chinese President Xi Jinping said, amity between people is the key to sound relations between states. Inbound tourism is also called people-to-people diplomacy. We hope such people-to-people diplomacy can resume soon to promote the bilateral relationship." Hu said.On January 10, the Chinese embassy in Tokyo stopped issuing ordinary visas to Japanese citizens, after Japans imposed new COVID-related entry restrictions targeting Chinese passengers. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed disappointment over Beijings decision. Industry insiders say they didnt expect disputes over border management to impact tourism to Japan.Last week, the Japanese embassy in China said its visa operations have returned to normal, following changes to the epidemic situation. It means Chinese citizens can enter Japan normally again.But some say theres another meaning - a gesture of friendship, as Japan sees increased business, tourism and economic ties with China, a visa suspension is simply not realistic.According to China Youth Travel Service, its visa applications to Japan decreased in January due to the policy changes. Currently, only five year multiple entry visas, busin...

Snow, swans attract visitors to Shandong

In Rongcheng, Shandong province, whirling snow and whooper swans created beautiful winter scenery that attracted visitors, amateur shutterbugs and professional photographers during the Spring Festival. Snow, swans and houses thatched with sea grass combined for scenes that attracted tourists to Rongcheng, Shandong province, during Spring Festival. Photo by Li Xinjun/For its favorable geographical location and wetlands, Rongcheng is an important stop for migratory waterfowl, with more than 10,000 birds staying at the site annually.The swans stick around for around five months, making Rongcheng one of the largest wintering grounds for whooper swans in the world.

Int'l arrivals to Vietnam surge sharply in January

People choose flowers at a flower market ahead of Tet or the Lunar New Year festival in Long Bien District in Hanoi, Vietnam on Jan. 18, 2023. (Photo: VNA/Handout via Xinhua)HANOI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam welcomed 871,200 international arrivals in January, surging 44 times compared to the same period last year, mainly thanks to the resumption of international flights post pandemic, the General Statistics Office said on Monday.During the period, foreign visitors entering the Southeast Asian country by air accounted for 91.9 percent of the total, followed by road with 7.5 percent and sea routes with 5.6 percent, respectively.Most of the arrivals were from Asia with around 70 percent, according to the office.Vietnam saw approximately 3.7 million international arrivals in 2022, surging 23.3-fold from the previous year, but still falling short of the target which was set at 5 million.It is forecast there will be a surge in international travel demand this year and Vietnam is expected to see a breakthrough in both the number of international tourists and revenues, Vietnam News Agency reported, citing Nguyen Trung Khanh, general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.Vietnam will actively implement its tourism promotion programs including attending international travel expos, he said.The country is striving to attract over 8 million international arrivals this year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Cross-Straits ferries see passenger growth during holiday

During the past Spring Festival holiday, 775 passengers have taken the ferry between the coastal areas of East Chinas Fujian province and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu of Taiwan, according to local maritime authorities.Passengers wave goodbye to those seeing them off on a ferry to Matsu from Fuzhou, Fujian province. (File photo: Xinhua)The ferry routes, which resumed from Jan 7 to Feb 6 after a suspension of nearly three years in order to facilitate travel during the holiday, were important for residents in the outlying islands to travel across the Straits.Fujian Maritime Safety Administration said on Saturday that the passenger and cargo transport volume by sea in the province has achieved substantial growth compared with the holiday last year.In the seven-day Spring Festival holiday that ended on Friday, about one million passengers have traveled by sea in Fujian, with a year-on-year growth of 40 percent, it said.A total of 6,442 ships entered or departed ports in Fujian, an increase of 21.1 percent year-on-year. The throughput of key energy materials such as electricity, coal, oil and gas reached 4.068 million metric tons, up 72.7 percent.The ferry route to Gulangyu Island, a famous sightseeing spot in Xiamen of Fujian, saw peak of passenger traffic during this Spring Festival, with more than 140,000 people visiting the island in the first four days of the holiday, according to local authorities.Maritime authorities in the province said they have strengthened inspection and law enforcement during the holiday to ensure the safe operation of ferries along the coast, and the water traffic safety situation during Spring Festival remained stable.

Spring Festival holiday sees surge in entry, exit trips

BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Passengers made 2.88 million trips through Chinas entry and exit frontier inspection stations during the week-long Spring Festival holiday that started on Jan. 21.Passengers are seen in a waiting hall at Chongqingbei Railway Station in Chongqing, southwest China, Feb. 17, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)It registered a stunning year-on-year increase of 120.5 percent, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said Saturday.Inbound trips exceeded 1.43 million, rising by 123.3 percent compared with the figure for 2022, while outbound trips jumped by 117.8 percent to over 1.44 million, according to the NIA.

Spring Festival holiday tops 225 million passenger trips

Passengers go through ticket barriers at Fuyang West Railway Station in East Chinas Anhui Province, Jan. 27, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)More than 225 million trips were taken during Chinas Spring Festival holiday between January 21 and 27, according to a State Council working group.

Millions on journeys as break nears end

Halfway through the Spring Festival travel rush, the anticipated passenger flow surge has demonstrated Chinese peoples strong desire to travel, the nations robust consumption potential and its economic vitality, thanks to the optimized COVID-19 response management.This years 40-day Spring Festival travel rush started on Jan 7 and will end on Feb 15. From Jan 7 to Thursday - the first half of the travel rush - 143 million trips were made on the national railway network, up 35.6 percent year-on-year, China State Railway Group said on Friday.On Thursday, the 20th day of the travel rush, 43.56 million trips were made across the country, a year-on-year increase of 85.9 percent, according to the Ministry of Transport.Among them, 10.29 million, 30.72 million, 978,000 and 1.58 million trips were made via rail, road, waterways and air, up 54.3,102, 99 and 58 percent year-on-year, respectively.As the first Spring Festival travel rush since the country optimized its COVID-19 response management this month and relaxed travel restrictions last month, people have shown a strong desire to travel.Travelers no longer need negative nucleic acid test results or health codes, are not required to undergo nucleic acid testing or health inspection upon arrival, and will not have their temperatures checked.Earlier estimates showed that about 2.1 billion passenger trips are expected to be made during the period, a year-on-year increase of 99.5 percent.The national railway network has seen a surge in passenger flow and freight transport remains at a high level.According to China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, nearly 110 million passenger trips were made from Jan 7 to Jan 21, a year-on-year increase of 27.3 percent.Travelers ready to start their return trips swipe tickets at a railway station in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, on Friday, the last day of this years Spring Festival holiday. (Photo: China Daily)During the period, the railway network transp...

Shanghai receives over 10 mln visits during Spring Festival holiday

SHANGHAI, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai received over 10 million visits during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, with tourism revenue reaching 16.64 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars), authorities said Friday.A staff member guides a passenger at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in east Chinas Shanghai, Jan. 21, 2023. (Photo: Xinhua)More than 500 cultural and tourism activities were rolled out to celebrate the Chinese New Year, according to the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism.The citys main tourist attractions received over 4.1 million visits, about 90 percent of the figure during the Spring Festival holiday in 2019.During the holiday, 72 museums and 39 art galleries across the megacity welcomed 500,000 visits and 230,000 visits, respectively, up 62 percent and 3 percent year on year.The citys world-renowned Huangpu River cruise tour received 72,400 visits, up 239 percent from a year ago.

China sees 308 million domestic tourist trips over Spring Festival holiday

Visitors at a scenic spot in Xichang City, southwest Chinas Sichuan Province, January 27, 2023. (Photo:CFP)China has measured about 308 million domestic tourist visits during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, up 23.1 percent year on year, recovered to 88.6 percent for the same period in 2019, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Friday.Domestic tourism revenue reached 375.843 billion yuan, up 30 percent year-on-year, recovering to 73.1 percent of the same period in 2019.Chinas cultural and tourism market has remained stable and orderly during the holiday, which ends on Friday, it added.

Philippines to extend e-visa for Asian tourism market

File photo MANILA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Thursday ordered government agencies to work on the extension of e-visa for travelers from major tourism markets in Asia, including China, to boost the recovery of the sector.The Presidential Communications Office said Marcos issued the directive during a meeting with a private-sector tourism advisory council that had recommended the inclusion of Indian nationals under the visa-upon-arrival program and the extension of e-visa to Chinese, Indian, South Korean and Japanese citizens.The government is collaborating on developing the technical plans, including various "connectivity matters."As a key economic driver, the tourism industrys contribution to the Philippines gross domestic product stood at 12.7 percent in 2019.Over 1.74 million Chinese tourists visited the Southeast Asian country in 2019. The Philippines has set a target for 2023 to lure some 4.8 million international visitors, with the Chinese tourist market remaining on its priority list.

China's outbound travel market sees recovery at Spring Festival

HANGZHOU, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- On the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a Chinese tourist surnamed Wu landed in Bangkok, Thailand, together with her parents, at the start of a long-awaited vacation. "I wanted to take my family to Thailand a few years ago, but it was put on hold due to the CO

China sees rise in railway trips ahead of Spring Festival

BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- China saw a 27.3-percent year-on-year increase in railway passenger trips made during the 15 days ahead of this years Spring Festival, which falls on Sunday, according to the national railway operator.A high-speed train runs in Dalian, northeast Chinas Liaoning Province, October 3, 2020. (Photo: CFP)From Jan. 7 to Jan. 21, 109.5 million trips were made by train, 23.5 million more than last years pre-festival period, data from China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. shows.In the past two years, most Chinese people stayed put during the festival amid virus curbs, but the countrys shift in COVID-19 response has brought a change.The total number of passenger trips for this years 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, which began on Jan. 7, is expected to reach 2.1 billion, almost twice as much as last year or 70.3 percent of the 2019 reading, according to the Ministry of Transport.The growing travel demand is a result of Chinas recent downgrading of COVID-19 management from Class A to Class B.Under Class B management, travelers no longer need to present health codes and negative nucleic acid test results or undergo temperature checks when entering railway stations and airports.

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