Visitors ambled by the Yellow Crane Tower, a landmark scenic spot in Wuhan, Hubei Province, as part of a night tour on Thursday. It was the first day of an eight-day national holiday.
To boost tourism in the post-COVID-19 recovery period, the historic building has opened to tourists in the night for the first time since it was reconstructed and opened to the public in 1985. Key scenic spots in Hubei are open to visitors free of charge from Aug. 8 to the end of the year.
Across China, more than 1,000 tourist attractions are offering free or discounted tickets during the National Day holiday. China's tourism sector is seeing a strong rebound, buoyed by preferential tourism policies and with COVID-19 effectively under control.
China celebrates its National Day on Oct. 1. This year, the week-long holiday has been extended to Oct. 8 as the Mid-Autumn Festival also fell on Oct. 1.
A total of 97 million domestic journeys were made on Oct. 1, equivalent to 73.8 percent of journeys made on the same day last year, said the country's tourism authority. Tourism revenues hit 76.65 billion yuan (about 11.26 billion U.S. dollars), a recovery of 68.9 percent of revenues gained on the same day in 2019.
Feng Ruobin, an executive with the China CYTS Tours Holding Co., Ltd, a primary travel service provider, said the value of their bookings for the holiday has seen a 300 percent increase compared to the summer peak season as the market recovers.
To effectively guard against the virus, tourist attractions across the country have been required to cap their visitor flows at 75 percent of full capacity. They were also encouraged to adopt reservation-only or staggered admission policies.
Home rental reservations nationwide are expected to reach about 80 percent of their volume during the same period last year, said Tujia.com, a reservation platform for homestays, adding that people are tending to opt for homestays as they are more private.
In addition to traveling, trips to the cinema have also become a popular choice for Chinese people.
"I have not been to the cinema for quite a long time. Now, with enough time during the holiday, I plan to watch two or three films on the big screen," said Qi Bo, a filmgoer in the southern city of Guangzhou.
The Chinese mainland's daily box office revenue hit 740.42 million yuan on Oct. 1, according to film ticketing platform Maoyan. That is comparable to the 815.48 million yuan revenue brought in on the same day last year.
With the COVID-19 epidemic under control, China has eased restrictions on theaters and other performance venues, allowing them to fill 75 percent of their operating capacities.
Qi said that although cinemas have been reopened for more than two months, there was not a great film choice before the holiday. A number of new releases with good box office appeal have now drawn Qi back to the cinema.
Several films that were originally scheduled for release around the Chinese New Year holiday but had their screenings canceled due to COVID-19 are now in theaters.
According to a prediction from Orient Securities, box office revenues during the eight-day holiday will hit 4 billion yuan, close to the figure seen during the same period last year.