Tourism surges during May Day holiday

Updated: May 12, 2023 By Yuan Shenggao China Daily Print
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Tourists line up to visit the renowned Xuankong Temple in Hunyuan county. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Welcoming an increasing number of tourists during the five-day May Day holiday from April 29 to May 3, the North China province of Shanxi finally saw its tourism revenue surpass the pre-pandemic level.

Local statistics show the number of tourist visits to Shanxi reached the same level of the May Day period of 2019, while combined tourism revenue increased 13.9 percent.

The rich offering of colorful activities is one of the reasons driving the growth.

In Hunyuan county, which boasts such renowned attractions as Mount Hengshan and Xuankong Temple, or cliff-hanging temple, tourists were treated to various shows of folk arts and food, after their tours of the sightseeing destinations.

In Yingxian county neighboring Hunyuan, a historical show was staged near the Sakyamuni Temple, which is famed for China's earliest preserved wooden pagoda built in the Liao Dynasty (907-1125).

The show was called Empress Dowager Xiao Returning to Hometown and Paying Homage to Buddha, giving people an understanding of how Buddhism developed in the Liao Dynasty, when there was an overwhelming enthusiasm for Buddhism among the royal families, officials and ordinary residents.

In Yunqiu Mountain Scenic Area, a popular rural tour destination in the city of Linfen, a reality show called Life by the Farms took place, giving people a glimpse into what life was like in rural Shanxi decades ago and a nostalgic memory of their childhood.

Other activities throughout the province also included a carnival in the provincial capital of Taiyuan, tours seeking ancestral roots in Hongtong county and a rural tourism festival in Loufan county.

Shanxi's tourism officials said local social media outlets made online promotions for these activities beforehand, helping tourists select their favored destinations and shows when making trip plans.

The Shanxi Culture and Tourism Department's survey showed that more than 95 percent of the tourists were satisfied with the themed activities they experienced.

Another reason for tourist satisfaction is that Shanxi's tourism operators made accurate predictions of tourist numbers they were about to receive and offered targeted solutions based on the data.

"Scenic area operators, travel companies and hospitality industry players made their predictions according to online bookings of tickets and rooms," an official of the department said. "So they could mobilize adequate resources to serve their customers."

Incentives offered by destinations proved to be another draw to tourists during the period.

Supported by the Shanxi Culture and Tourism Department and the Shanxi Department of Finance, a total of 106 major scenic areas in Shanxi provided tourists with preferential ticket prices.

Other incentives also included free shuttle buses between destinations and free parking.

Zhang Ting contributed to this story.

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