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China Dragon Boat Festival tourism trips above pre-COVID levels — ministry

BEIJING — Trips for tourism in China during last week’s three-day Dragon Boat Festival climbed 32.3% from a year earlier to an estimated 106 million, 12.8% above the pre-pandemic level in 2019, the ministry of culture and tourism said.

China’s tourism numbers are closely watched as a barometer of consumer demand in the world’s second-biggest economy, as Beijing is expected to pledge further measures to boost growth amid signs that recovery after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is faltering.

In contrast to the tourism data released late on Saturday, overall travel during the holiday Thursday through Saturday spiked 89.1% from a year earlier but was remained down 22.8% from 2019, according to transport ministry figures published in state media on Saturday.

Revenue from domestic tourism trips during the Dragon Boat Festival rose 44.5% on year to 37.31 billion yuan ($5.20 billion), recovering to 94.9% of the 2019 level, the tourism ministry said.

The comparison between the 2023 and 2019 figures were made “according to comparable standards”, the tourism ministry said on its website, without providing details about the metrics.

The Dragon Boat Festival tourism rebound is smaller than that during the five-day May Day holiday, when domestic tourism trips surged 70.8% on year and were 19.1% above those of 2019with revenues up 128.90% on year and on par with 2019, according to tourism ministry data last month.

Orders for tickets at domestic tourism sites during last week’s holiday doubled from the 2019 level, China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip, said in a report on Saturday.

Trips across mainland China’s borders averaged 1.32 million a day during the holiday, more than double last year’s level but just 64.6% of the 2019 level, data from the National Immigration Administration showed on Sunday.

Of the total 3.96 million cross-border trips, 1.97 million were made by mainland Chinese people, 1.67 million by residents in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, and 323,000 by people from elsewhere, the NIA said. — Reuters

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