The number of tourists at 119 major scenic spots across the country rose by 21 per cent during the eight-day "golden week" holiday, compared with the same period last year, the National Tourism Administration said.
About 34.25 million tourists visited the major attractions, generating about 1.77 billion yuan (HK$2.16 billion) in revenue - up by nearly a quarter from last year, Xinhua reported yesterday.
Contributing to the increase was an extra day off this year, as Mid-Autumn Festival fell on September 30, the day before the week-long National Day holiday.
The rise in revenue came at a hefty price. Millions of tourists were stuck on roads for hours on end, and accidents were reported all over the country as cars inundated highways after the central government waived all toll fees for the eight days.
Tourist attractions were so packed that visitors could hardly move, and scuffles reportedly broke out at Hua Mountain in Shaanxi province on Tuesday. A couple was stabbed by two men, whom they claimed were security guards at the popular tourist area, after the couple sought refunds because the cable-car service was overloaded.
Despite criticism in the media that accidents had aggravated traffic congestion, the Ministry of Public Security last night released figures showing road accidents during the holiday were down compared with the previous year.
Xinhua quoted the security ministry as saying that 68,422 road accidents were reported during the holiday that ended yesterday, a year-on-year decrease of 24.1 per cent.
Xinhua also said that 186,000 people visited the Forbidden City on Tuesday, the largest number of visitors ever recorded in a single day.