Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine's Day, which fell on Tuesday,
turned out to be a boon for the country's tourism and hospitality
Statistics from online travel agency Ctrip showed people were more
eager to travel to mark the festival this year than in 2019, pushing
airfares to major cities up by 17 percent year-on-year since the
"Since people were cooped up at home at the height of the pandemic in
China in February and settled for a quiet and uncelebrated Valentine's
Day, many couples would not miss the opportunity to celebrate their love
during Qixi Festival by arranging a romantic tour," said Gou Zhipeng,
chairman of Qunar, another online travel agency.
The festival, originating from a 2,000-year-old legend of two lovers,
falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar
calendar. It is sometimes called Double Seventh Festival.
Chongqing, in southwestern China, was the most popular destination
according to a report released by Tongcheng, another online travel
agency, followed by Chengdu in Sichuan province, Shanghai, Beijing, and
Guangzhou in Guangdong province.
Xu Wenjun, 28, who writes software code in Beijing, planned a
whirlwind tour with his girlfriend, taking in modern art galleries in
Shanghai, classical gardens in nearby Suzhou and a feast of crabs and
fish beside Taihu Lake.
"Because of our busy work schedules, we only see each other after 10
pm on weekdays. I wanted to prepare something romantic for my girlfriend
on the special date to show her my love," he said, adding that a short
trip was the perfect choice because the COVID-19 pandemic had been
subdued in China.
Qunar said hotel reservations for Qixi Festival were up 40 percent
across the country compared with last week, while Fliggy, Alibaba's
online travel agency, reported a 34 percent year-on-year increase in
Mi Caifeng, who owns a bed-and-breakfast inn at Mogan Mountain in
Zhejiang province, saw bookings surge as couples in nearby cities such
as Hangzhou and Huzhou opted for a refreshing break amid nature.
"My hotel has been fully booked during Qixi Festival," he said. "Many
young people are not satisfied with only chocolates and flowers these
days and prefer to celebrate the festival in a well-decorated hotel."
A range of activities featuring festive traditions helped fuel the travel boom in many places.
In Beijing, eight museums organized night events to greet the
festival, with Beijing World Art Museum at the China Millennium Monument
setting up a special section to display festive traditions including
traditional clothing of China's Han ethnic group and moon worshipping
Tian'ai Road in Shanghai, dubbed the city's most romantic road, was
given a festive atmosphere at night with colorful lights, and many of
its shops and restaurants offered discounts to customers during the