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March 5, 2021

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Decline in Delta railway bookings for spring outing amid recovery

About 44 million railway trips are predicted in the Yangtze River Delta region between March 12 and early April — the traditional spring outing season — almost 25 percent less than pre-pandemic numbers, China Railway Shanghai Group officials said yesterday.

However, the group expects a tourism rebound in previous high- and medium-risk COVID-19 regions when the virus is eliminated nationwide.

Short- and medium-distance trips will be the trend with countryside tours, ancient towns, red tourism destinations and journeys embracing nature gaining popularity — most within a three-hour high-speed railway trip.

Many weekend trips will combine spring outings with tomb sweeping on April 4th’s Qingming Festival, a time for Chinese people to pay respects to their ancestors.

Rail passenger flow in the region is forecast to steadily rise between March 12 and 31 and peak between April 1 and 8.

Sixty trains operated only during peak traffic periods will be put into service from March 12 to April 8 along with 17 additional high-speed trains.

The additional trains will service routes including those between Shanghai and Nanjing, Nanjing and Anqing, and Xuzhou and Lianyungang.

Exclusive tourism railway trips will be featured as well.

Travel agencies said there has been a surge of bookings to destinations featuring flower appreciation.

Shanghai-based online travel operator said the number of bookings to scenic spots with blooming flowers is up 115 percent over 2019. said cheap airfares are helping fuel spring outing fervor. The average price of an airline ticket in March is 503 yuan (US$78), down 20 percent from the same period in 2019.

Online travel operator Tongcheng-Elong said bookings for flower appreciation tour products have surged more than 100 percent over the same period in 2019, with driving and high-speed railway the primary modes of transportation. Wuhan, Wuyuan, Kunming, Luoyang and Guangzhou are top destinations.


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