Chinese travelers flocked to the country’s major tourist sites over the May Day holiday in one of the clearest signs yet of a return to normality in the country where the coronavirus pandemic started, reported the Financial Times.
There were more than 50 million tourism trips within the country on Friday and Saturday, according to figures cited by state media. That meant that two days into the five-day break, which ends on May 6, the number of journeys has overtaken the total over the three-day Qing Ming festival in early April.
Higher volumes of travelers will boost hopes that China’s economy, which contracted year-on-year for the first time in more than four decades in the first quarter of 2020, is beginning to shake off the impact of coronavirus at a time when new cases remain low.
“On a year-on-year basis, if we look at it from a retail sales perspective, or consumption, or services, it’s still a contraction,” said Iris Pang, greater China economist at ING, as nearly 200 million trips were made over the same period in 2019. She said, however, that the May Day holiday could encourage people who were still reluctant to leave their homes to “restart their normal lives.”