Tourism recovery: Self-driving tours help Chinese tourism sector pick up pace
By Guan Yang

China's domestic tourism industry is reaping the rewards from the country's efforts to control COVID-19. This Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, more residents are driving to nearby attractions. The COVID-19 pandemic has been under control for a while in China. But it's clear some tourists are still concerned about potential transmission. This is influencing how they travel, with more and more people hitting the road and driving to their chosen destination.

During the three-day holiday, most tourists are traveling with family members to nearby destinations. And they're likely to enjoy outdoor activities, as people are still avoiding mass gatherings to stem the spread of COVID-19. In Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, tourism has been positive in places like national parks, scenic spots and campsites. It's giving locals an opportunity to get close to nature and escape the crowds.

"The traffic is too heavy, so we didn't go too far away, just to nearby places," said Liu Ziyi, a local resident from Shenyang.

"We've planned a long journey for the coming May Day festival, but for Qingming holiday we preferred short trips," Wang Feng, a Shenyang resident, told CGTN.

Yang Xueliang, the spokesperson of the Shenyang Traffic Police Bureau, told CGTN that to ensure safe and pleasant self-driven tours, they have deployed more staff at junctions, highway entrances and exits around cemeteries and scenic spots during the three-day holiday.

The China Tourism Academy says that during the Qingming Festival holiday, tourists visiting scenic spots are mainly expected to come from within the same province. Urban one-day tours and suburban tours are likely to recover, and the proportion of self-driving tours has increased.

Local transport departments and companies are also gearing up to ensure the safety of passenger transport during the Qingming Festival. Successful COVID-19 control is certainly helping China's tourism sector bounce back. Experts estimate that over 85 percent of Chinese residents are willing to go on a trip this year to make up for the previous one, when the pandemic hit the sector hard.

(Cover: Vehicles line up to enter the scenic spot in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China, April 3, 2021. /CGTN)

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