BEIJING, February 12 (Xinhua). Traditionally, Chinese people stay at home with their families for the Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar.
But many families now choose to travel on holiday, attracted by cultural events such as lantern shows, flower markets and temple fairs offered across the country, or travel abroad to discover more of the world.
In Beijing’s Beihai Park, calligraphers can be seen writing the Chinese character “Fu” on red square paper and handing out decorations to tourists. Red posters are pasted on doors or windows to celebrate the Spring Festival, as the character represents blessing or happiness.
“I am very lucky to receive the Fu poster as a gift, and I will take home the blessing it brings,” said a tourist surnamed Xu from south China’s Guangdong province.
According to local government data, public parks in Beijing welcomed more than 250,000 tourists on February 10, the first day of the Year of the Dragon, up 153.78% from last year’s Spring Festival and up 56.41% in 2019.
Shanghai launched more than 200 cultural events during the eight-day Spring Festival, starting on February 10, including art exhibitions, performances and food fairs, creating a festive atmosphere in the city for locals and tourists alike.
Some 1.73 million tourists visited Shanghai for Chinese New Year, up 4.58 percent from last year, data released by the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism showed.
According to statistics from the travel platform, domestic travel bookings increased by 102 percent year-on-year on the eve and first day of the holiday, significantly higher than the same two days in 2019. Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Kunming and Harbin are among the most popular destinations this year.
To welcome the Year of the Dragon, 20 lantern shows with Chinese dragon elements are set up at the Xi’an Ancient City Walls in Shaanxi, the country’s largest and best-preserved ancient city walls.
“Although it is quite crowded and cold at night, it is worth coming!” – said a visitor named Zhou from Beijing. He said that his 12-year-old daughter had recently become a big fan of traditional Chinese clothing and was looking forward to her trip to the ancient capital.
SEE THE WORLD
“Happy Chinese New Year from abroad! I had a great time wandering around Singapore!” a tourist from Chongqing surnamed Zhang wrote on her social network on the eve of the Chinese New Year. In her photos, she and her daughter are in summer clothes, and her parents are photographed in front of the green.
Although the trip was an impulse decision, it was only possible thanks to the recent visa-free policy and the fact that a direct flight from Chongqing to Singapore only takes five hours.
More Chinese like Zhang decided to celebrate the Lunar New Year in a foreign country. China’s National Immigration Administration estimates that there will be an average of 1.8 million daily arrival and departure passenger trips to the Chinese mainland during the Spring Festival holiday this year, about 3.3 times the number of last year.
Chen Chaogong, chief researcher at Tongcheng Research Institute, which is affiliated with a major online travel agency, said that countries such as Singapore and Thailand are becoming popular tourist destinations after the implementation of visa-free policies for Chinese tourists. Those overseas trips are expected to provide a strong boost to tourism spending, Cheng said.