China Golden Week tourists look for new locations post virus

Millions of Chinese tourists usually spend their weeklong National Day holidays travelling abroad.

This year, travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic mean that some 600 million tourists — about 40% of the population — will travel within China during the holiday that began Thursday, according to Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency.

That’s still down 25% from last year, when tourists took 782 million domestic trips and generated tourism revenue of 650 billion yuan ($95.4 billion), according to government data. The dip comes as some in China remain wary of the coronavirus and opt not to join the holiday rush. The country’s borders remain closed to international visitors.

The eight-day holiday this year, which coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival, will be a litmus test of whether China’s tourism industry can bounce back following the battering it took earlier in the year. Travel within the country, and sometimes even within cities, was restricted beginning with the Lunar New Year as China fought the spread of the coronavirus that emerged in the central city of Wuhan and has sickened more than 34 million people, killing over a million.

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