Tourist attractions across China are hugely popular this week as millions of revelers celebrate Golden Week, a national holiday that occurs on October 1st each year after the country's national holiday.
Around 600 million local tourists – around 40 percent of the population – are expected to travel while on vacation due to the coronavirus that infected 10 people in China yesterday.
The national holiday commemorates the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party demanded victory in the Chinese civil war.
China observes consecutive national holidays known as Golden Week around the national day celebrated in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau.
During China's golden week after the national holiday on which the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, visitors climb into the mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a tourist attraction in Nanjing City, east China's Jiangsu Province, stairs
Along with the Chinese New Year, Golden Week is the longest national holiday in the country.
The name of the week is given because it falls towards the beginning of autumn, which in China is generally characterized by clear weather and good temperatures.
This encourages many people to travel around the country and draw large crowds to popular tourist destinations.
While many countries around the world are still some form of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, pictures from China show that thousands of tourists were still able to travel domestically during the week.
Millions of Chinese tourists usually spend their week-long national holidays abroad.
This year, due to travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, around 600 million tourists – roughly 40% of the population – will travel within China for the holidays that began Thursday, according to Ctrip, China's largest online travel agent.
Visitors line up to get to Kaifengfu, or Yamen of Old Kaifeng, a historic site in Kaifeng City in central China's Henan Province. With international travel restrictions, around 600 million tourists are expected to travel within China
The name "Golden Week" is given because it falls towards the beginning of autumn, which in China is generally characterized by clear weather and good temperatures, which encourages many to travel
That's still 25% less than last year, when tourists made 782 million domestic trips and reported tourism revenues of 650 billion yuan (£ 73.8 billion) in tourism. The slump comes as some in China continue to be wary of the coronavirus and choose not to join the holiday frenzy. The national borders remain closed to international visitors.
The eight-day holiday this year, which coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival, will be a litmus test of whether China's tourism industry can recover from the raids earlier this year.
Travel within the country, and sometimes even within cities, was restricted from the Lunar New Year when China battled the spread of the coronavirus that hit downtown Wuhan, sicking more than 34 million people and killing over a million people.
Last year, tourists made 782 million domestic trips and earned 650 billion yuan (73.8 billion pounds) of tourism income, according to government figures
Pictured: Visitors climb a path down to the mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing City, east China's Jiangsu Province, October 2nd. Local governments give tourists discounts during the week
The week-long vacation in October is usually the busiest time for domestic travel. The Department of Culture and Tourism announced that tourism revenue was 76.7 billion yuan (8.7 billion pounds sterling) on Thursday, nearly 70 percent last year. In Beijing, 223 major tourist attractions recorded nearly 1.1 million visits, the city's Bureau of Culture and Tourism said.
As the world's largest spending tourists spend their money on domestic travel, local governments offer tourists discounts and subsidies, including free or discounted attraction tickets.
Zhao Kerui, a designer with a flexible work schedule, often makes several trips abroad each year. Last year he visited Malaysia and Japan. He had planned to visit Istanbul, Turkey or the South Korean island of Jeju this year, but eventually decided to visit cities like Chengdu, known as the home of the pandas, as well as scenic Guilin, famous for its limestone karst hills, instead.
Tourists visit Datang Everbright City on the second day of the National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 2nd
Fireworks light up the skyline during the 2020 Liuyang Fireworks Conference on October 2nd. Tourists who would normally travel abroad have stated that they are unwilling to meet the long quarantine periods required at both ends of their trip
Aside from the Chinese New Year, Golden Week is the country's longest national holiday, but the decline in tourism this year is due to some in China continuing to fear the coronavirus and not joining the holiday frenzy
"To go abroad, you will be quarantined for half a month when you arrive, and quarantined for another half a month when you return," Zhao said. “It's been a month in which you haven't done anything. & # 39;
Cao Ke, a Shanghai-based science researcher, usually spent his national day relaxing on the beaches of the Thai island of Phuket. This year he is traveling to the southern coastal province of Fujian, China, hoping to take some nice photos.
"I usually prefer to go overseas because too many people travel domestically and board and lodging become very expensive," said Cao.
Pictured: An aerial view of tourists visiting the illuminated ancient city of Youzhou on the second day of the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival Holidays on October 2. The country's borders remain closed to international visitors
Staff dressed up as a giant panda parade in Wuhan's Happy Valley on the second day of the National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday on October 2
This is a sentiment shared by many Chinese people who can afford to fly overseas on vacation but are now excluded from flight cancellations and quarantine restrictions. Thailand, one of the most popular destinations among Chinese travelers, closed its airports to international commercial flights in April and is not yet fully open to tourism.
Instead, Chinese visitors will crowd into popular attractions like the Disneyland Resort in Shanghai and the panda breeding research base in southwestern Chengdu, the Ctrip report said.
China is one of the few countries in the world where millions travel freely, while most countries prevent unnecessary travel as they battle coronavirus outbreaks.
People visit the Temple of Heaven on October 2 during the National Day in Beijing, China. China celebrates its national holiday marking the 71st anniversary of the People's Republic of China
China has not reported any new locally transmitted coronavirus infections since Aug. 16, and the country's Ministry of Culture and Tourism eased restrictions on tourist attractions last month
The ease of restrictions means that tourist attractions are 75% busy. Visitors are also encouraged to follow social distancing rules while traveling. Pictured: Tibetan Buddhist monks take photos when visiting the Temple of Heaven
China has not reported any new locally transmitted coronavirus infections since Aug. 16, and the country's Ministry of Culture and Tourism eased restrictions on tourist attractions last month, bringing them to 75% utilization. Visitors are also encouraged to follow social distancing rules while traveling.
The number of tourists visiting the country's main attractions rose nearly 159% in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter at the height of the pandemic shutdowns.
The number of tourists visiting resorts and engaging in rural tourism in July and August was around 90% year-on-year, Shan Gangxin, an official with China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, told reporters in Beijing this week.
The number of tourists visiting the country's main attractions rose nearly 159% in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous quarter at the height of the pandemic shutdowns
Pictured: Chinese tourists crowd to snap photos when visiting the Temple of Heaven on October 2nd while a young boy sits on someone's shoulders to snap a picture on a phone
The number of tourists who visited resorts and engaged in rural tourism in July and August was around 90% of the previous year's level
According to Fliggy, Alibaba's online travel arm, hotel bookings are 50% higher year-over-year and airline reservations are at 2019 levels. This is backed up by discounts on hotels and flights.
Zeng Xiaoqi, a 24-year-old nurse from central China's Hunan Province, was planning a trip to Beijing for the holidays to celebrate her mother's 50th birthday.
"Before I left, I took the nucleic acid test in my hometown and called the attractions I was going to visit to see if the website would be open during the holiday week and how tickets could be booked," Zeng said. "I didn't leave until all the preparations were done."
Passengers wait for trains at Shenyang North Railway Station on the second day of the National Day and October 2
People tour a shopping street in Wuhan on October 2, 2020 during the National Day in Wuhan, Hubei province, where the coronavirus is believed to originate
People wear face masks while standing on the deck of a ferry on the Yangtze River during the National Day in Wuhan, Hubei province on Oct.2
Railway authorities expect 108 million train journeys between Monday, September 28th and October 8th, or an average of almost 10 million a day
She said she wasn't worried about traveling within China as most areas are currently at relatively low risk for the coronavirus.
Even so, as a precaution, Zeng said she was well equipped with masks, hand sanitizer, and a damp handkerchief for the flight and bullet train to Beijing.
Railway authorities expect 108 million train journeys between Monday, September 28th and October 8th, or an average of almost 10 million a day. Overall, train and airline passenger numbers are still expected to be lower than in previous years, amid fears that restrictions could be reintroduced if new cases are discovered.
Like many other Chinese people, Zhao plans to stick to domestic travel for the next few months.
"To be honest, it is the same whether I go overseas or through China," he said. "I do it to relax."
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