Outbound tourism market booming ahead of Spring Festival
LANZHOU, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Li Miaomiao, a resident of Lanzhou, capital city of northwest China's Gansu Province, embarked on a trip to Thailand with her 9-year-old son a few days ago.
Li and her son were among the tourists heading overseas ahead of the Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 10 this year. As the winter vacation has also commenced, the processing of entry and exit documents has seen a significant increase in many regions across the country.
Even at noon, the service hall of the immigration department of the Lanzhou Public Security Bureau remains bustling, with citizens waiting to process their travel passes.
Over the past two weeks, the number of people applying for entry and exit documents has surged, with a daily average processing volume exceeding 1,200 cases, said Bai Lijuan, who works at the department.
Since the beginning of this year, about 60 percent of the passport applications have been for popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asian countries, Bai added.
The hustle and bustle has also been evident in the entry and exit service halls of other cities across the country. The city of Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, handles more than 5,000 entry and exit cases per day, while the city of Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong Province, has set up special sessions for processing entry and exit documents for primary and secondary school students who plan to travel overseas during the winter vacation.
Meanwhile, popular overseas destinations including Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore have also taken a series of measures in 2024 to attract Chinese tourists, such as waiving visa requirements. Airlines are also increasing international flights and charter services to meet the growing travel demand.
The flight that Li took is one of the measures. It is the first international flight that China Eastern Airlines has resumed in Gansu in the past three years, and the first passenger route linking Thailand restored this winter at the airport in Lanzhou. On the inaugural day, its passenger load factor exceeded 90 percent.
China recorded 5.18 million inbound and outbound trips during the three-day New Year holiday, from Dec. 30, 2023, to Jan. 1, 2024, a 4.7-fold increase compared with the figure for the same period a year earlier and returning to the 2019 level, according to the National Immigration Administration.
Industry insiders in the tourism sector believe that, driven by the continuous improvement in the convenience of cross-border travel, the outbound tourism market is expected to usher in new development opportunities this year.