Bumper ‘Golden Week’ as Chinese make most of longer break
Holiday spending up and more outbound travellers ditch tour groups to go it alone
China’s transport system had to cope with millions more travellers during the National Day “Golden Week” as the number of trips made over the break rose 11.9 per cent compared with the same holiday last year, tourism authorities said on Sunday.
The National Tourism Administration said holidaymakers made 705 million domestic trips over the eight-day break and spent 583.6 billion yuan (US$87.68 billion), or 13.9 per cent more than last year.
The administration said the number of outbound tourists was roughly the same as last year at about 6 million, but more travellers were opting to go it alone rather than join a tour group.
In-depth sightseeing was also becoming a higher priority than shopping, it said.
An estimated 14 million passengers were expected to travel by rail on Sunday – the last day of the holiday – and an extra 920 trains were put into service to handle the additional demand, according to national operator China Railway.
Travellers had made about 105 million train trips since the holiday rush started on September 28, the operator said on Saturday. State television said about 40 per cent of the journeys were on high-speed lines.
The Ministry of Public Security said more police officers would be deployed to cope with the long lines of traffic on expressways back into big cities.
More than 210,000 officers were dispatched each day on average during the first six days of the eight-day holiday, the ministry said.
Traffic also reached record highs on the country’s telecommunications system at some popular tourist spots as holidaymakers uploaded photos and footage, made WeChat calls and left voice messages at tourist attractions.
China Mobile said that during the holiday daily 4G internet traffic at popular Hangzhou scenic spot West Lake was more than triple the amount compared with the same break last year, the Qianjiang Evening News reported.
To meet greater demand, China Mobile’s Zhejiang operations installed more than 50 new base stations at various transport and tourist hubs, the report said.
Consumer complaints also increased in some centres. The Shanghai industry and commerce administration said it had more than 1,300 complaints during the holiday, up 14 per cent from last year. Catering, hotels and tour services attracted the most grievances, Eastday.com reported.
China’s National Day Golden Week usually lasts seven days, but this year the break was extended to eight to cover the Mid-Autumn Festival.