Think Hong Kong is crowded? Labour Day tourists flock to China's hotspots
As this year’s three-day Labour Day holiday comes to an end, it emerged that tourism sites across China received a record-breaking number of Chinese visitors over the public holiday.
Tourists flocked in record numbers this weekend to sites in Beijing, including the Forbidden Palace which was visited by 109,000 tourists, according to the tourism authority.
The popular tourism city of Xian, home of the Terracotta Warriors, catered to a staggering 3.8 million visitors - nearly half of its population - during the holiday.
In the prosperous coastal city of Shanghai, the number of tourists converging on a popular wildlife park was nearly five times that of average visitor numbers outside the public holiday.
In an overcrowded and chaotic Chengdu zoo this weekend, zoo staff helped more than 90 lost children find their way back to their parents.
According to Xinhua, China’s railway authorities recorded an all-time-high of 37 million train journeys made by Chinese travellers during the Labour Day holiday, up 16 per cent from last year.
But it added that the increased number of privately-owned cars and the lifting of toll charges on highways for the Labour Day holiday had also helped to boost the popularity of self-driving and short-distance holidays among the public.
In Beijing, which has a registered five million cars, nearly two million cars took to the highways on the first day of the holiday as travellers flowed into and out of the city.
Experts have said that the public’s preference to travel during public holidays, instead of at weekends, resulted in a vast number of travellers over the holiday.
In contrast with the large number of visitors to tourist sites on the mainland, Hong Kong saw a 15-per-cent drop of tourists visiting the city during the holiday this year.