Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Heat unlikely to keep tourists home this Summer

BEIJING – China is expecting a tourism surge during the summer despite high temperatures scorching the mainland, and industry operators and agencies anticipate a full recovery of long-distance tours and family trips, which may even outperform figures in 2019 before the COVID-19 epidemic hit.

As predicted by travel portal LY.com, the summer period – from July 1 to September 1 – will see three travel peaks, with the first wave having begun last week when Chinese students started their summer holidays.

The second wave will occur from late July to the middle of August, and the last wave will take place around September 3, a week before students return to school.

The cost of flights to domestic destinations will remain high during the summer because of people’s surging demand for travel.

According to LY.com, the average cost of domestic flights have increased 32 per cent year-on-year on its platform, up five per cent from the summer period in 2019.

The portal predicted that family trips will see a full recovery this summer, with the number of travelers expected to exceed 2019 summer figures. Cities well known for their cuisine, including Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, and Changsha in Hunan province, as well as Beijing and Chongqing, are popular domestic choices for Ly.com customers.

Researcher Xiao Peng at travel portal Qunar, said that domestic travel may reach a record high because of the increasing number of domestic flights and people’s strong desire to venture out of town.

Tourists visit the Bund waterfront area in Shanghai, China. PHOTO: AFP
Tourists watching a performance in Bijie, in China’s Guizhou province. PHOTO: AFP

“It’s the start of the summer holidays, and we are very pleased that the epidemic over the past three years didn’t dampen people’s passion for travel,” he said.

Online travel services provider Tuniu also gave an optimistic forecast for the summer, saying that 61 per cent of its users booked long-distance trips to destinations such as Yunnan province and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to enjoy their milder climates and beat the summer heat.

In addition to these destinations with lower temperatures and breathtaking natural views, cities and attractions with rich cultural atmospheres and historical sites such as Beijing and Xi’an, Shaanxi province, are big draws for travelling families.

“I was planning to take my eight-year-old daughter to the Palace Museum, but it’s difficult to get a reservation as the museum limits the reception capacity to 30,000 people a day, because it’s such a popular destination for families,” a tourist surnamed Gong said.

The 35-year-old from Shanghai is on a four-day summer vacation with his daughter and wife in Beijing. He said that although taking a tour when the weather is so hot isn’t pleasant, he’s thrilled to have the chance to introduce his child to the capital’s famous sites.

“I felt like I was melting in an oven,” Gong said. “But it’s a good learning experience for my daughter as Beijing has many historical sites highlighting traditional Chinese culture.”

He said that he is considering booking an educational trip in August to Dunhuang, Gansu province, so his daughter can see the Buddhist sculptures at the Mo Gao Caves.

According to Qunar, sales of educational tours were four times higher in June than in May. In particular, bookings for museum visits were three times higher during the period as parents seek shelter from the heat as they travel with their children.

Travel outside of the mainland is also ramping up. According to Tuniu, bookings to destinations such as the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions are increasing rapidly.

Trip.com, another travel portal, expects a boom in overseas trips during the summer holiday.

It said that during this year’s May Day Holiday, applications for travel visas on its platform were 60 per cent higher than during the same period in 2019, and the number of visa applications this summer may also exceed those made during the summer in 2019.

So far, searches for overseas flights on its platform are running even with the same period in 2019.

The top five overseas destinations on Trip.com are Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, it said.

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