Retailers have enjoyed a bumper 'golden week', with sales figures up by 240 billion yuan compared with last year's seven-day May Day holiday. National retail sales rose 17 per cent, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The catering sector did even better, posting a 20 per cent jump. The ministry's figures show hoteliers and retailers of household appliances also had a solid week. About 2.8 million mainland residents used airlines, a record figure and an increase of almost 20 per cent over last year, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said. Among those travellers, more than 2.4 million travelled between 52 key mainland cities, up 19 per cent. A greater number of people also used the national railway system and road networks. More than 38.5 million train trips were completed between April 28 and May 7, up almost 6 per cent year on year, while 323 million road journeys were undertaken - a slight rise of about 4 per cent. The number of complaints to the National Holiday Office from airline passengers accounted for one-fifth of the 437 grievances lodged. Delays in flights were the biggest complaint for passengers. The national office also received complaints about travel agencies and resorts. Jiang Yan , the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Tourism's statistics department deputy director, said that despite the strong national figures, people in the capital seemed less intent on travel this year than on previous 'golden week' breaks. 'Their enthusiasm to travel is returning to a more rational level, from when the holidays first started,' she said. However, more than 4 million domestic tourists visited Beijing, up 14 per cent over last year when there were fears of a re-emergence of Sars. The May Day break is one of the three annual holidays in China, known as 'golden weeks'. They were introduced in 1999 to stimulate consumer spending. The Social Survey Institute of China conducted a nationwide poll of 1,500 people last month. It found 60 per cent of respondents said they would not travel during the holiday because of traffic jams, overcrowded public places and high ticket prices.