As people's desire to travel has grown since China optimized its COVID-19 control policy, the tourism market has registered a robust recovery over the New Year's Day holiday.
Data from travel agencies shows that travelers favored trips to other provinces and regions during the three-day holiday from Saturday to Monday.
Travel portal Trip.com Group said that nearly 60 percent of its customers purchased cross-provincial tours during the holiday, up from 40 percent in 2022.
Flight AI, the group's database, said the nation's largest 10 airports, including Beijing Capital International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport, saw their passenger traffic rise by 20 percent year-on-year during the holiday.
Meanwhile, the Tuniu travel portal said that 32 percent of its customers purchased long-distance trips during the holiday period. It said that destinations such as Hainan and Yunnan provinces, with their milder climates and stunning scenery, proved popular.
According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the domestic tourism market saw 52.71 million trips during the holiday, a year-on-year increase of 0.44 percent. This is 43 percent of the level during the same period back in 2019.
Revenue generated during the holiday was over 26.52 billion yuan ($3.84 billion), up 4 percent year-on-year, which was about 35 percent of the revenue created in the same period in 2019, the ministry said.
The increased enthusiasm for travel also drove up hotel prices.
According to Trip.com, Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, which is famous for its tropical scenery and ethnic Dai culture, saw hotel prices rise 170 percent during the holiday. The average price of accommodation in Xishuangbanna was around 804 yuan ($116) per night.
Dali in Yunnan and Sanya in Hainan registered a 30-percent increase in hotel prices during the holiday, said the group.
Attractions and leisure resorts with snow views and ice sports were in a tight race with warm destinations to attract travelers. Lvmama, an online travel services provider, said provinces in northeastern China such as Jilin and Heilongjiang witnessed a travel boom thanks to their snow-related attractions.
"I was invited to spend the holiday with my friends in Harbin, Heilongjiang. The place is just like a snowy world with fabulous ice sculptures and ice-related entertainment events," said Li Minmin, 29, an accountant from Shanghai, for whom this was the first such long-distance tour in the past couple of years.
Overseas travel also performed well during the holiday after the authorities optimized the COVID-19-related policies on departing and entering the mainland in December.
Trip.com said that reservations for international flight tickets during the holiday increased 145 percent year-on-year, and the number is set to grow even further during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday later this month.
Zou Qingling, CEO of Lvmama, said many tourist attractions across the country welcomed crowds of visitors during the New Year's Day holiday, adding that he expects overseas travel to also witness a recovery in the near future.