China’s tourist market welcomed double-digit rises in tourist numbers on the first three days of the National Day holiday, as the National Tourism Administration forecast a record number of trips would be made during the holiday period.
The administration’s official website said 104 million trips were made on Oct 2, a year-on-year rise of 12.5 percent, while the number on Oct 3 was 108 million, a rise of more than 15 percent from the same period last year.
The NTA forecast that the total number of trips made during the holiday could reach 589 million, up 12 percent year-on-year.
It cited favorable weather conditions as the primary reason for the rise in traveler numbers, with rural tourism, ecotourism and red tourism－trips to locations of historic significance to Chinese Communism－being the highlights.
In Beijing, more 1.08 million trips were made to major attractions across the capital on Oct 1, the first day of the seven-day holiday, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development said in a news release.
The authority said the capital welcomed 1.87 million tourists on Oct 2, down by 11.2 percent year-on-year, and partly blamed lingering smog in North China for the decline.
In Shanghai, the number of tourists at some scenic spots rose threefold year-on-year on Oct 1, according to news portal thepaper. Some attractions, such as the newly opened Disneyland, required visitors to stand in line for two hours to purchase tickets and for security checks.
In Shennongjia, Hubei province, thousands of private vehicles caused traffic gridlock at the entrance of a scenic spot and on a nearby highway, with some vehicles stuck for more than four hours, local media reported.
Meanwhile, outbound tourism is expected to continue to boom during the holiday period.
According to a report jointly released by the China Tourism Academy and Ctrip, a leading online travel agency, nearly 6 million people are expected to travel overseas on tourist trips during the holiday.
“Chinese tourists are becoming wealthier and more mature, and they prefer more-customized travel experiences,” the report said, adding that in recent years the growing importance of a Chinese passport, the expansion of flight routes and exchange-rate fluctuations have buoyed outbound tourism. Chinese tourists can enjoy visa-free entry or obtain visas on arrival in 57 countries and regions.
The increasingly stable price of tickets during the holiday period has been a factor, the report said.
“The prices of most domestic and outbound routes have remained steady, and some even fell,” said Peng Liang, Ctrip’s director of publicity, who noted that many routes had been booked by more than 10,000 tourists.
South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and the United States are the top five destinations for Chinese tourists during the holiday period. Meanwhile, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Sanya, Hainan province, Kunming in Yunnan province, Shanghai and Beijing are the top five destination cities in China for tourists during the holiday, according to the report.