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Travel surge continues as festival spurs demand

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An aerial drone photo taken on June 9 shows a nighttime dragon boat race held to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival in Sanxi village of Changle district, Fuzhou, capital of Southeast China’s Fujian province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Dragon Boat Festival, which in 2009 became the first Chinese holiday inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, concluded with traditional festivities that added vibrancy to popular tourist destinations.

Figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism showed a 6.3-percent year-on-year increase in domestic tourism during the three-day holiday period, which started on Saturday. Over 110 million tourist visits were recorded, generating about 40.4 billion yuan ($5.57 billion) in tourism revenue, an 8.1-percent rise compared with last year.

Travel agencies noted a slight decrease in overall crowds this year due to the scheduling overlap with China’s crucial college entrance examination, or gaokao, which was held from Friday to Monday.

However, destinations known for their traditional Dragon Boat Festival celebrations, particularly dragon boat races, remained popular.

“Guangdong province, renowned for its long history of dragon boat racing, saw a doubling of online searches for tour packages during the holiday,” reported travel portal Qunar.

Beyond the thrilling races, the festival is celebrated through various customs and activities, including preparing zongzi (glutinous rice dumplings), hanging mugwort for good health, and consuming medicinal liquor for blessings.

Shi Yuanyuan, a 28-year-old resident of Shenzhen, Guangdong, shared her experience.

“We brought our 3-year-old son to witness the dragon boat races in Foshan, another city in Guangdong. He was mesmerized by the boats. While he may not grasp the historical significance yet, experiencing the festive spirit and team energy is valuable,” she said.

According to the travel platform Tuniu, the most popular domestic destinations during the holiday were Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou in Guangdong, Nanjing in Jiangsu province, and Chongqing.

Shorter travel times due to the merely three-day holiday also enticed Chinese tourists to explore short-distance overseas options. “Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and South Korea were top choices due to their flight times,” reported Fliggy, an online travel agency. Cross-border cruises also experienced a surge in popularity, with bookings jumping 14-fold year-on-year.

Qunar highlighted the cost-effectiveness of traveling abroad during the Dragon Boat Festival, compared with the upcoming peak summer season.

“International flight prices dropped 20 percent year-on-year, and overseas hotel rates remained around 70 percent of what they typically are in July and August,” it said, adding that sales for international flights departing during the holiday increased more than 60 percent compared with last year.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)

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