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More people hit China roads in first major holiday since coronavirus easing

By Reuters

BEIJING – China’s most populous cities saw a spike in outbound travellers, tourists and day-trippers on May 1, first day of a long holiday weekend, led by Wuhan, epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic that first struck the country late last year.

Tourists visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China on the first day of the five-day Labour Day holiday following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on the outskirts of Beijing, China May 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter / MANILA BULLETIN)

Tourists visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China on the first day of the five-day Labour Day holiday following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on the outskirts of Beijing, China May 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter / MANILA BULLETIN)

The number of people travelling outside their home cities jumped nearly 50% at the start of the Labour Day weekend, compared with the first day of the Tomb Sweeping holiday on April 4, according to Reuters calculations on data from China’s internet giant Baidu Inc (BIDU.O).

The increase in outbound travel during the five-day holiday, one of China’s peak tourism periods each year, would help lift the travel and hospitality sectors that have been hit hard by disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.

The spike in tourism was led by increases in travellers from Wuhan, Beijing, Dalian, Tianjin and Jinan, with China having eased curbs on travel and relaxed rules on quarantine amid dwindling cases of the coronavirus.

Hundreds of sightseeing spots have also been reopened, including the Forbidden City in Beijing, as authorities sought to revive and repair local economies.

The country recorded more than 23 million domestic tourists on May 1, according to China’s culture and tourism ministry.

The Ministry of Transportation expects 23.36 million travellers a day during the period, up from 19.9 million per day during the April 4-6 Tomb Sweeping holiday.


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