Chinese tourists seek diverse experiences in small cities, towns

Source:Xinhua 19-05-24 02:00 Updated BJT
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BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) -- At the northern foothills of Mogan Mountain in Deqing County, Zhejiang Province, lies Xiantan Village, surrounded by lush greenery, bamboo-covered mountains, and a diverse array of homestays.

During this year's May Day holiday, homestays in this region saw peak popularity, with Deqing County receiving nearly 1.4 million tourists and generating a tourism revenue of approximately 1.89 billion yuan (about 265 million U.S. dollars), both hitting record highs.

Xu Zhaoying, a local homestay owner in the county, said that she had been incredibly busy during the period and the homestay was fully booked, with reservations made over a month in advance.

The flourishing homestay business has revitalized the once quiet village, predominantly inhabited by older people, according to Shen Jiangrong, Party secretary of Xiantan.

The village now boasts 166 homestays and 14 restaurants, as well as cafes, farms and other establishments, creating job opportunities for the villagers.

Exploring previously lesser-known cities and counties has emerged as a new trend in the domestic tourist market. Data from online travel agency Group shows that during the May Day holiday, year-on-year growth of travel orders for smaller cities and counties outpaced that for first and second-tier cities.

Popular cities such as Yangzhou, Luoyang, Qinhuangdao and Weihai saw an average increase of 11 percent in bookings, while county destinations like Anji, Dujiangyan and Wuyuan saw a higher surge, averaging 36 percent in bookings.

"My friend and I started planning a trip before the holiday, only to find that all the popular cities were already booked. So we rented a car and traveled around Yingxian County and Hunyuan County in Shanxi Province," said a Beijing resident surnamed Li.

Li said the local landmarks exceeded expectations and left a lasting impression, adding that it was also easier to book tickets and hotels in the counties.

According to Qin Jing, vice president of Group, the tourism surge in Chinese counties signifies a shift in people's travel preference toward more rational and comfortable experiences.

Relaxation, good food, ecotourism, and cultural and immersive experiences have become key components of holiday travel for Chinese tourists.

"With the rise of personalized and immersive travel, tourists are seeking out more authentic and less crowded destinations. County-level regions, featuring unique natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and rustic charm, have attracted a large number of visitors," said Hong Yong, an expert in e-commerce.

Hong noted that local government efforts in developing and promoting county-level tourism resources have increased the appeal of these regions among tourists.

China has over 2,800 county-level administrative regions, which means there's huge potential for tourist market development.

Characterized by a shift to emerging markets and upgraded demand, a new era of mass tourism has arrived, said Dai Bin, president of China Tourism Academy. 

Editor: Dingmaiqi
19-05-24 02:00 BJT
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