Despite the latest round of COVID-19 outbreaks in East China's Fujian province, the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays are likely to witness a greatly increased number of tourists hitting the road.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said they attach great importance to the situation and take the prevention and control work for COVID-19 as the most urgent task, at a news conference held in Beijing on Friday.
Traditional and online travel agencies continue to suspend services for inbound and outbound group tours, and related ticket and hotel bookings.
For medium- and high-risk regions, cross-provincial group tours and related ticket and hotel bookings should be instantly suspended. The services will resume once the medium- or high-risk areas have been cleared.
Travel agencies and operators should make a safety assessment for their products, limit the number of group tours, and implement preventive measures for COVID-19 in transportation, accommodation, dining, sightseeing and shopping.
The ministry said over 10,000 A-level scenic areas in China will be open to tourists during the two festivals, accounting for about 80 percent of the total.
These scenic spots should put a suitable limit on daily visitors, prevent tourists from gathering, and take rigid preventive measures and hygiene management in popular spots. Tourists should make a reservation in advance, and scan health QR codes and have temperature checks before entry.
The ministry has revised and printed detailed guideline brochures about prevention and control for the pandemic in places such as theaters, entertainment venues and travel agencies.
The ministry suggests tourists pay close attention to the COVID-19 situation, and avoid traveling to medium- and high-risk regions. They should obey preventive rules, including wearing a mask, scanning health QR codes and having temperature checks. If they have coughs or a fever, they should go to a hospital immediately.
"Safety is the foundation of tourism. Without safety, it's impossible for visitors to travel in good health," said Hou Zhengang, an official from the ministry.
He said the ministry requires that the tourism safety work should be done from the following aspects: strengthening the management of chartered car services, fire prevention and control, special equipment such as cable car and amusement facilities, and implementing food security measures.
They also ask the local culture and tourism bureaus to make emergency plans and drills and strengthen cooperation with departments such as public security, transportation, health and weather service, to ensure the safety of tourists in case of an emergency.