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October 9, 2009

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Tourist sites, retailers strike gold in Nat'l Day holiday rush

The longest-ever National Day holiday wrapped up yesterday with Shanghai's tourism and retail markets reporting a major boom.

The city welcomed about 5.8 million tourists during the eight-day holiday, up 17 percent from last year, and they spent about 4.6 billion yuan (US$657 million), up 21 percent, tourism authorities said yesterday.

More than 44,500 Shanghai people traveled abroad during the "Golden Week," a 107 percent rise from last year.

The city's major retailers reported sales revenue of 5.18 billion yuan during the period, which began on October 1, up 26 percent from a year earlier, according to the city's Commerce Commission.

The growth rate was 6 percentage points higher than the same period of last year and nearly double the rate for the first half of this year.

Sales of televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and computers totaled 62,878 units, an increase of 91 percent from a year earlier.

A wedding boom during the holiday created heated demand for jewelry and catering. A survey of 144 restaurants and hotels in Shanghai showed revenue from wedding parties rose 40 percent to 81.9 million yuan during the holiday.

Weather turns cooler

The weatherman is advising local residents to dress seasonably as they return to work today because temperatures are trending downward as a result of the arrival of a cold front.

Skies will be mainly cloudy to overcast today and tomorrow with a maximum temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.

Lows have been below 20 degrees Celsius since Tuesday and will register 18 to 19 degrees for the rest of the week.

Yesterday was "han lu," meaning "cold dew," a Chinese solar term that indicates the weather is getting cooler.

To handle today's expected back-to-work traffic peak, the urban transport authority is dispatching 2,000 extra taxis.

70,000-plus officers

Shanghai police deployed 70,000 police officers and firefighters during the National Day holiday to ensure public safety.

On October 1, 9,000 police officers were sent to the city's seven fireworks shows, including those at Longhua Airport and Daning-Lingshi Park, and 5,700 firefighters and 500 fire trucks were on standby, police said.

Air passengers soar

Average daily passenger turnover at the city's two airports increased 14 percent to nearly 438,000 during the holiday compared with the same period of last year, according to immigration police.

Major long-distance bus stations handled more than 1.2 million passengers during the period, and several reported record-breaking daily turnover on September 30 or October 1.

Eleven cruise ships visited the local port during the holiday, bringing in 13,000 tourists and crew, up 75 percent from last year.

1.66m hit the rails

Railway officials estimated that more than 1.66 million passengers traveled via Shanghai's two stations during the National Day holiday, with a record-breaking peak of 266,500 on October 1.

Authorities added 156 shifts in the past eight days to handle all those travelers, some of whom complained about the short supply of train tickets to popular destinations like Beijing and Xi'an.

Consumers complain

The city consumers watchdog said yesterday that its hotline received about 740 complaints and reports during the National Day holiday, about the same as last October's "Golden Week." Food, mooncakes in particular, was the main target.

Some consumers said their mooncakes went bad before the expiry date, while others said they weren't able to get their cakes on time using coupons. Internet service was another complaint hotspot.

Treating the sick

City hospitals said their outpatient and emergency departments were busy during the holiday. Shanghai Children's Medical Center received about 1,500 patients per day, about 30 percent more than last year.

And the Meihe Plastic Surgery and Laser Treatment Center at the No. 455 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army said its patients doubled as many took advantage of the break to undergo surgeries such as facial reconstruction, breast enlargement and liposuction.


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