Beijing expects to receive 70% fewer tourists in Q1, cherry appreciation activity to be canceled
Cherry about to bloom in Beijing's Yuyuantan Park, February 23, 2020. /VCG

Cherry about to bloom in Beijing's Yuyuantan Park, February 23, 2020. /VCG

Beijing is expected to host 44 million fewer tourists in the first quarter of this year than the same period last year, or an annual decrease of 70 percent, said Chen Dong, head of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism.

Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, tourism revenue in the January-March period is predicted to fall by 84 billion yuan (around 12 billion U.S. dollars), or 64.7 percent year on year, Chen said.

As of January 24, the city has closed 181 scenic sites and halted the operations of 3,016 travel agencies. During the lunar New Year holiday, the city received 81.9-percent fewer tourists and generated 89.8-percent less tourism revenue than a year ago.

The bureau has rolled out a slew of measures to aid the struggling tourism businesses, including the granting of 345 million yuan in subsidies, and encourage some to develop online tourism products to nurture new growth drivers.

The famous annual cherry appreciation activity at Beijing's Yuyuantan Park will be canceled this year to prevent big public gatherings during the coronavirus epidemic, announced the park in its official WeChat account. Other indoor exhibitions and entertainment facilities will remain closed.

According to the park, when the number of people in the park is close to 30 percent of the capacity of the previous year, it is necessary to suspend entries. From March 14 to April 15, visitors need to book the ticket online with at least one day in advance, and the parking lots at both eastern and western gates will be closed.