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Flu boosts domestic tour market

The coming Dragon Boat Festival is expected to see high levels of short-term domestic tourism, as the out-bound travel market has been affected by the swine flu outbreak overseas, local airports and travel firms said yesterday.


As the festival, which takes place from Thursday to Saturday, will be followed by the International Children\'s Day, which falls on June 1, family tours are proving especially popular, said local tour agencies.


Hongqiao Airport immigration police said it\'s highly likely that this festival would see a sharp decline in local tourists leaving for Japan compared with previous years.


Last year, Japan was the most popular travel destination for out-bound tourists from Shanghai.


But Shanghai\'s two airports have reported rapid declines in outbound passengers since last month. Fears about swine flu are thought to be the major cause, said airport immigration police.


Tour agencies said they will focus on domestic short breaks for the holiday.


Locals staying in the city can watch a dragon-boat race along downtown Suzhou Creek during the festival. For the first time two foreign national dragon-boat teams will join the competition.


The races will be held about 2pm on Thursday at Suzhou Creek\'s watercourse between Jiangning Road Bridge and Changhua Road Bridge in Putuo District.


National teams from the Netherlands and Belgium, professional teams from Hubei, Shandong, Zhejiang, Fujian and Anhui provinces, and an amateur club from Shanghai will all race.


(Shanghai Daily May 25, 2009)