Spring Festival crowd gives a lift to Hangzhou's tourism industry
Hangzhou's picturesque areas and tourism villages drew over 9.37 million visitors during the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday, a 566.5 percent increase over the same period last year.
More than 4 million visitors visited the downtown area, a 2.1-percentage point increase from 2019 when the pandemic struck.
The West Lake, Hefang Street, the Grand Canal Scenic Area, Liangzhu Relic Park and Xixi Wetland were the most popular among tourists.
The West Lake received 2.92 million visitors, a 406.8 percent jump over the same period last year. Feilai Peak, The Three Pools Mirroring the Moon and Hangzhou Zoo were the top three popular attractions.
The city's hotels welcomed 1.15 million overnight travellers, an increase of 530 percent year on year and 4 percentage points more than in 2019.
According to local department statistics, the number of out-of-town tourists increased by 41 percent year on year, with the majority coming from Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Guangdong, Anhui, and Shandong.
Around 35 percent of visitors came to Hangzhou for leisure, 20.9 percent for sightseeing, and 18.9 percent to visit relatives and friends, indicating that the tourism business was reviving.
During the holiday, 41 picturesque places in and around Hangzhou were free for tourists. Around 2 million visitors toured these free scenic locations, saving 90.81 million yuan (US$13.44 million) in admission fees.
Hangzhou organized 14 Southern Song Dynasty-themed activities to encourage people and the younger generations to learn about the city's history.
An intangible cultural heritage special shopping festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year was also launched online.
A total of 15.9 million yuan was spent on 406 different sorts of cultural and creative products.
According to the Hangzhou Commerce Bureau, citywide consumption revenue reached around 14.99 billion yuan, representing a 21.6 percent increase over the previous Chinese New Year holiday period.
To boost the economy, the Hangzhou government distributed consumption coupons. The downtown business zones, including Wulin, Hubin, and Qianjiang New Town, staged retail festivals.
Approximately 1.66 million transactions were completed in the three business zones, representing a 72.6 percent increase year on year.
Sales at 300 retail malls, supermarkets, gas stations, and restaurants increased by 47.4 percent year on year, totaling 1.67 billion yuan.
Among these, the top two retail malls, Hangzhou Tower and Hubin Yintai, saw sales increase by 86.7 and 77.2 percent, respectively.
Visitors from outside the city preferred cultural and historical streets. The ancient alleyways of Hefang, Pingyao, Xianlinbu, and Yanzhou were packed with tourists.
Total spending of the travelers in Hangzhou amounted to 2.11 billion yuan, an increase of 85.9 percent over the same period last year.
The catering industry also enjoyed a windfall. Restaurants reported brisk business over the holiday.
According to UnionPay Merchant Co data, approximately 3.78 million transactions were made in 80,000 eateries around the city, representing a 49.8 percent increase year on year.
People spent over 2 billion yuan on dining out, a 61.6 percent increase year on year.
The official consumption vouchers boosted the catering business as well. By January 27, around 271,900 vouchers worth 9.08 million yuan had been redeemed, resulting in 39.9 million yuan of restaurant consumption.
A big part of the festival season was encouraging people to buy new energy vehicles. One of the government's initiatives was to provide subsidies for all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which has given the new energy vehicle industry a boost.
Gongshu District provided special subsidies of 30 million yuan to EV customers. During the holiday season, 641 EVs from 10 retailers were sold out, producing 244 million yuan in sales revenue.
During the holiday season, domestic automakers ZEEKR and NIO witnessed sales rise by 747 and 164 percentage points, respectively.