Over 100,000 mainland Chinese tourists squeeze onto tiny Gulangyu
More than 100,000 tourists squeezed onto tiny Gulangyu, an island off the coast off Fujian province, in one 24-hour period as mainlanders made the most of the Lunar New Year holiday, albeit it with the least amount of elbow room.
A massive 100,500 tourists boarded ferries to Gulangyu between 4pm on Sunday and 4pm on Monday, the China National Tourism Administration said. That is more than five times the island's population.
The island had received over 66,000 visitors by yesterday afternoon, said its official website.
The two-square-kilometre, car-free island off Xiamen is smaller than Cheung Chau in Hong Kong and is a national scenic area famed for its 19th-century foreign architecture.
According to the Xiamen Urban Planning and Design Institute, the island's ideal daily limit for visitors is 13,000 and 39,000 if pushed to the limit. The city is considering capping the number of tourists.
The Xiamen Daily reported there were noticeably more visitors from outside the province and numbers could continue to rise in the days following the Lunar New Year holiday.
The Lunar New Year is one of the two peak travel times of the year on the mainland. Authorities in Macau introduced one-way routes for pedestrian to cope with crowds during the holidays.
It is expected about 2.7 million mainlanders will have crossed into Macau by the end of the holiday period.
According to a China Tourism Academy survey, 225 million mainlanders will take a vacation during the one-week holiday, 10.8 per cent up on last year.
They will spend 130 billion yuan (HK$165 billion), up 11.1 per cent on the same period in 2013.
Thirty-two per cent will stay on the mainland, with the top destinations Sanya , Beijing, Hangzhou , Shanghai, Yunnan and provinces in the northeast.
The remainder will travel abroad or visit Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.
The national tourism administration said 1.93 million people visited Chongqing on Monday and 71,500 visited Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.
Another 94,900 visited Hainan and 54,000 Harbin in Heilongjiang province. Shandong province reported 369,000 visitors in its 26 scenic areas. Over the first three days of the holiday, 3.87 million visited scenic areas in Beijing and 1.79 million went to Shanghai.
Another 2.6 million visited Guangdong on the first day of the holiday, 30 per cent up from last year.