Holiday crowds smaller in Beijing, but only slightly

Holiday crowds smaller in Beijing, but only slightly
Visitors line up to go through security to enter Beijing's Tiananmen Square on the May Day national holiday.

Huge crowds took the May Day holiday as an opportunity for a spring day out, resulting in a heavy rush on tourist attractions in the capital.

But the crowds were somewhat lighter than last year in Beijing. According to the Beijing Commission of Tourism Development, 5.4 million visits were made to 150 major scenic spots in the capital during the three-day holiday, a decline of 1.3 per cent year-on-year.

Total revenue generated during the holiday reached 185 million yuan (S$39.7 million). Tourists who once swarmed to traditional scenic sites sought out neighbouring tourist destinations, reducing the pressure.

Aside from the Palace Museum and the Summer Palace, where visitor numbers increased, major tourist spots in Beijing-such as the Temple of Heaven, Badaling section of the Great Wall and Beihai Park-all saw small decreases.

But tourism in rural areas of Beijing gained in popularity. Activities included fruit picking, fishing, eating freshly harvested vegetables and living in farmhouses.

More than 2 million visits were made to rural areas, a nearly 10 per cent year-on-year increase. Total revenue reached 200 million yuan, a 10.2 per cent increase over last year.

The China National Tourism Administration said on Sunday evening that the number of Chinese tourists visiting South Korea and Japan during the holiday rose 50 per cent year-on-year, while Hong Kong cooled down as a previously popular destination among tourists from the Chinese mainland and hotel prices in Hong Kong dropped 20 per cent year-on-year.

Additionally, 30 per cent of Chinese traveling abroad during the holiday went to Europe.

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