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September 7, 2013

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Tourists get trips in before price hike

CITY travel companies are seeing a boom for this month’s holiday as tourists look to get away before prices soar in October when new legislation takes effect.

Breaks over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday — this year from September 19 to 21 — are proving more popular than the traditional getaway time around the National Day on October 1.

The law to be introduced on October 1 bans “zero or negative-fare tours” — packages sold by travel agents at or below cost.

Companies seek to make up the cash by persuading tourists to buy goods and extra activities.

With these packages outlawed, prices are going up by 20 to 30 percent.

Travel companies report a 30-50 percent increase in bookings for the Mid-Autumn Festival compared with last year.

The Shanghai branch of, one of the major travel websites in China, reported a 30 percent rise in numbers for the holiday, with the numbers to Thailand soaring by 50 percent.

Thailand, South Korea, Bali, and the United States are popular overseas destinations in September.

The Datong Travel Agency said it has seen a 50 percent increase in bookings compared with last year.

“This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival has probably attracted the most local tourists in history,” said He Yiwei, deputy manager of Datong.

Ningbo in Zhejiang Province, Tianzhu Mountain in Anhui Province and Taizhou in Jiangsu Province are among most popular domestic destinations, He said.


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