Chinese tourists made 115 million trips during the May Day holiday. While short of last year’s figures, the hard-hit tourism industry could be slowly rebounding after the Covid-19 crisis.

The five-day holiday that started on May 1 in China generated tourism revenue of 47.56 billion yuan ($6.7 billion), according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. As the number of visits was down more than 40 percent from the 195 million made during last year’s Labor Day holiday – which was also one day shorter – the revenue also fell over 59 percent.

China has been trying to get tourism back on its feet after travel restrictions were relaxed amid dwindling Covid-19 cases in the country. When the epidemic started rapidly spreading across China, it had to cancel the large-scale Lunar New Year celebrations and close tourist attractions. The festival, one of the longest in the country, is normally one of the busiest periods for tourism, and so the outbreak came at a very bad time.

The May holiday season sparks hope that the troubled sector could be on a path to recovery, and it may offset some of the pain inflicted by the Covid-19 epidemic. In the first three days of the festival, Beijing’s 124 major tourist attractions received nearly 1.9 million visitors – a 58.5 percent surge compared with the three-day Qingming Festival holiday in early April.

According to popular Chinese tourist operator, bookings made on April 29 for air, rail and car transport for the holiday were 130 percent higher than all of the bookings for the previous week.

“We can see that everyone’s confidence is gradually recovering,” travel company chairman James Jianzhang Liang told broadcaster CCTV.

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