Domestic tourism registered a steady recovery over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday－a traditional festival for family reunions that ran from Sunday to Tuesday－with short-distance tours and theme parks favored by travelers, industry insiders said.
Though sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks have raged in Fujian province's Putian and Xiamen, the nationwide tourism market operated smoothly thanks to beefed-up measures by all levels of government, such as suspending group tours to areas with medium or high risks of infection and implementing a reservation system for people wanting to visit attractions.
Figures released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Tuesday night show that travelers made about 88.2 million trips over the three-day break, roughly 87.2 percent of the domestic trips for the same period in 2019 before the novel coronavirus hit the tourism market.
Revenue of over 37.1 billion yuan ($5.7 billion) was generated during the break, the ministry said, about 78.6 percent of that for the same period in 2019.
Due to the short length of the break and travelers' concerns about becoming infected, short-distance tours were popular.
Trip.com, an online travel agency, said in a report that 56 percent of its users selected short-distance destinations, with average travelers spending 99 minutes on bullet trains and keeping within a radius of 262 kilometers.
"The sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks have beset travelers' plans for long-distance trips, while selecting destinations near where they live or work has become a better choice," said Shen Jiani, a senior researcher with the group's strategic research center.
She said that as people develop more diversified demands for traveling, newly emerging destinations such as theme parks and campsites are becoming popular.
Theme parks, thanks to the opening of Universal Beijing Resort on Sept 20, the second day of the holiday, were the most popular destinations for travelers during the holiday.
Mafengwo, another online travel agency, said that 42 percent of theme park tickets sold on its platform for the holiday were for admission to Universal Beijing Resort. The opening of the resort also made Beijing the most popular destination over the break, with other attractions in the city such as the Summer Palace and the Palace Museum embracing more travelers.
People's passion for theme parks nationwide－Shanghai Disney Resort, for example－has been stimulated by the opening of Universal Beijing Resort, said Mafengwo, adding that about one-third of its 30 most popular destinations were theme parks.
"It's rather a pity that I didn't get tickets to Universal Beijing Resort. My girlfriend is a big fan of Harry Potter and we planned to visit the wonderland during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is thrilling and romantic," said Lin Ye, a 26-year-old engineer from Beijing.
He said he had promised to take his girlfriend to the resort another day. "We hope there will be fewer people competing for tickets with us. It's rather popular," he said.