Record crowds herald holiday
If hitting the road brings a sparkle to the holidays, this ought to be one of the shiniest Golden Weeks on record.
China’s civil airlines had a recordhigh volume of 965,000 passenger trips on National Day, a year-onyear increase of 6.4 percent, while the railroad logged 14 million trips, up 11.6 percent, according to the National Tourism Administration.
On the first day of the weeklong National Day holiday — one of China’s two Golden Week vacation periods — Beijing welcomed some 1.08 million tourists at 180 popular sites in the capital, up 9.5 percent year-on-year.
Shandong province had 1.39 million visitors on National Day while Sichuan province saw 1.06 million visitors spend 24.51 million yuan ($3.67 million) on tickets to its 76 key scenic spots.
Tian’anmen Square alone attracted more than 110,000 visitors for its flag-raising ceremony, 40,000 more than last year.
“It’s a special experience to celebrate the home country’s birthday by seeing the flag-raising in Tian’anmen,” said Cui Kun, 33, an office worker. He brought his grandparents to the ceremony.
The Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the Forbidden City, reported 82,000 visitors on Saturday, registering slight growth of 2 percent over last year’s National Day.
The complex was the nation’s highest center of power from 1420 to 1911 as home to Ming (13681644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors. It attracts more than 15 million visitors annually.
To control crowds, the museum suspended ticket sales after 1:30 pm. The police department added 200 officers to handle the crowds.
The Summer Palace, a former imperial residence, received 34,000 visitors, down 2 percent year-on-year, while Beihai Park, a former imperial garden, saw rocketing popularity with a year-onyear increase of 56.5 percent to 50,000 visitors.
The number of tourists is expected to reach its peak between Oct 2 and Oct 5, Beijing authorities said.
Cash registers are expected to bulge as the National Tourism Administration predicts total tourism revenues of around 478 billion yuan, up 13.5 percent year-on-year for the week.
The domestic market should see a total of 589 million tourists, up 12 percent.
Some folks, however, are choosing to stay home to avoid the holiday crowds, instead curling up with a good book or inviting friends to dinner.
Visitors take selfies as crowds gather in Tian’anmen Square in Beijing on Saturday to celebrate National Day, marking the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.