Tourists take selfies in a field in Baofeng county, Henan province, in March. (Photo/Xinhua)
Significant discounts, upgrades offered to woo visitors
The tourism industry is placing its hopes on the upcoming May Day holiday, which runs from May 1 to 5, by offering big discounts, upgrading itineraries and making strenuous online marketing efforts.
Hopes for the sector have been raised, with a survey by the China Tourism Academy reporting record levels of satisfaction among visitors during the three-day Tomb Sweeping holiday at the start of this month.
However, despite this response, the number of domestic tourist visits during the Tomb Sweeping holiday was about 43.25 million, a fall of more than 61 percent compared with same period last year.
Travelers also spent less, with tourism industry revenue for the three days reaching 8.26 billion yuan ($1.17 billion), down by nearly 81 percent from last year, according to the academy.
People mainly traveled with their families, took road trips and went hiking, with zoos and flower gardens the most popular destinations.
According to government regulations, travel agencies must continue suspending cross-provincial and outbound services. As a result, they are looking to attract visitors to destinations within a particular province.
Agencies have also introduced significant discounts.
Wang Ying, head of international affairs at Ctrip, the country's largest online tour agency, said many hotels, scenic spots and tour companies are offering promotions to encourage local travel, with prices reaching the lowest level for the past decade.
"We all hope that high-quality products, combined with favorable prices, will help us grasp this window of opportunity for the industry to recover," Wang said.
For the Labor Day holiday, Ctrip is offering big discounts for visits to scenic spots, road trip packages, small-group tours within provinces and car rental services. Discounts are being offered on about 50 percent more services than during the Qingming holiday.
The company is also promoting hotel packages－including five-star and boutique establishments－along with tickets to scenic spots, at a discount of 20 percent to 40 percent.
Many scenic spots nationwide have reopened since the middle of last month, with strict hygiene measures put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Most of these destinations are offering medical workers free entry for the rest of this year.