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Beijingers opt for suburban travel in shortened May Day holiday

Tourism promotion has resulted in a travel boom in Beijing over the just-concluded Labor Day holiday, as the city recorded 3.7 million visitors from May 1 to 3, a rise of 22.7 percent year on year, according to local tourism authority Monday.

 

The municipal tourism bureau figures showed that tourism revenue totaled 1.24 billion yuan, up 32 percent from the year-earlier level.

 

The bureau said that the number of Beijingers traveling within the city rose by 24.5 percent year on year to 1.67 million in the three-day holiday. They spent 420 million yuan (62 million U.S. dollars) for travel.

 

The bureau said it launched a program to promote the city's new scenic spots, travels to its suburban areas and other tourism activities in neighboring regions during the holiday period, which attracted increasing tourists. Beijing's suburban areas received 1.14 million local tourists during the holiday, according to the bureau.

 

"People only had three days off, and concerns over Influenza A/H1N1 and of savings amid the financial crisis made many people cautious to choose long travels," said Tian Ling, a manager of China Youth Travel Services.

 

She said that the agency mapped its recommended routes to suburban scenic spots and self-driving tours.

 

Chinese workers had seven days off, instead of the current three days, during the May Day holiday, before a new holiday system kicked last year.

 

Beijing was also one of the most popular tourist destinations for tourists from other parts of the country in the holiday, when more than 890,000 tourists from elsewhere of China visited the city, according to the tourist bureau.

 

The bureau said the per-capita tourist spending increased by 12.5 percent year on year even for Beijing local tourists during the holiday because of increased travel cost.

 

Junlinshengshi, a tourist agency, said the price of the city travel surged by about 30 percent for group tours.

 

(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2009)