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Beijing sees record festival tourists

(2009-02-11 23:09:12)

BEIJING, Feb. 10 -- Beijing received a record number of tourists who spent more
than ever during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday.

The municipal tourism authority said yesterday it handled 3.24 million domestic
tourists from Jan 25-31, up 20 percent on last year, and gained 2.155 billion yuan
($314 million) of income, up 32 percent.

 "It is a very good start for us in the Year of Ox," Yu Debin, deputy director of the
tourism administration, said.

The boom was due to the city's unprecedented promotion of tourism - 50,000
tickets to scenic spots were given away free and hotels slashed room rates, Zhang
Huiguang, head of the administration, said.

The promotions attracted 830,000 tourists from outside Beijing, up 28 percent on
last year, and they spent a record 1.714 billion yuan, Zhang said.

Temple fairs, Olympic venues and ski slopes were among the most popular

The temple fair at Ditan Park was said to be the most popular of Beijing's seven
temple fairs. It received more than 1.2 million people in eight days, up 20 percent.

Beijinger Zhang Tingting said this year's temple fairs were distinctive.

 "All the popular snacks were gathered in one place and folk artists showed off their
talent. You just feel thrilled in the festive atmosphere," she said.

Zhang visited three temple fairs with her family. At one of them she spent more than
300 yuan on snacks and gifts.

The Olympic Park received more than 1 million visitors over the week.

Zhang of the Beijing tourism administration said more measures are being
considered to boost tourism.

These include laying on free tour buses across the city and removing expressway
tolls for tour buses, she said.

The boom has prompted a call for the resumption of the weeklong May Day holiday,
which was shortened to three days last year.

 A survey by Sohu.com showed that 92 percent of the 111,000 respondents said they
wanted the May Day golden holiday to return.

Nationwide, some 109 million people made domestic trips during Spring Festival,
up 25 percent on last year, the national tourism administration said in a report last

That resulted in a 23 percent jump in tourism revenue, to 51 billion yuan, during the
weeklong holiday.

The report said 172 restaurants in 39 cities earned 580 million yuan in the week,
up 12 percent from a year ago.

The figures for inbound visitors are not yet available.






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