China's major cities report booming holiday tourism

  China's major cities have reported significant rises in tourism income during the week-long Spring Festival holiday from last Friday through Thursday, local authorities said.

  The capital city of Beijing reported two-digit increases in tourism revenue as well as number of sightseers.

  In the first week of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the capital city earned 4.384 billion yuan ($723 million) of tourism income, up 13 percent from the same period of last year, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development said in a press release Thursday.

  Beijing welcomed an estimated 9.75 million sightseers during the holiday week, up 12.3 percent year-on-year, it said.

  The sightseers included Beijing residents as well as domestic and international travelers, said Zhou Zhengyu, chief of the commission.

  The majority of the local sightseers visited Beijing's traditional temple fairs, or crowded Spring Festival gatherings that feature acrobatic shows, song and dance performance and stalls selling snacks and souvenirs, Zhou said.

  The temple fair hosted at Ditan Park, also known as the Temple of Earth in the northeast of Beijing's city proper, received 1.14 million visitors during the holiday week, up 11.4 percent year-on-year, according to the document.

  Nearly all other temple fairs reported surges in the number of tourists, too, it said.

  The temple fair at Longtan Park in the southeast of Beijing received 757,000 tourists, up 3.2 percent year-on-year, and that at Yuanmingyuan Park in the northwest of Beijing drew 416,000 sightseers, up 13.2 percent from the same period of last year.

  Tourist destinations in Beijing's rural areas received nearly 700,000 sightseers and earned 68.24 million yuan in tourism revenue, thanks to a special policy that exempts nationwide expressway toll fees on public holidays, said Zhou.

  The neighboring Tianjin municipality reported 3.584 billion yuan of tourism revenue during the week-long holiday, an all-time high, according to figures released by the city's statistical bureau Thursday.

  Tianjin hosted an estimated 4.3 million sightseers over the past week, of whom 1.4 million were travelers from other parts of the country or international tourists.

  Meanwhile, over 4.4 million travelers passed the customs checkpoints in Shenzhen during the holiday week for sightseeing or shopping tours in Hong Kong, averaging 600,000 people daily, according to figures released by Shenzhen customs.


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