China’s high-speed railways further boost tourism

(People's Daily Online) 16:51, July 11, 2022

The recent operation of new high-speed railways, such as the line linking Zhengzhou, capital city of central China’s Henan Province and southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, will further stimulate the country’s tourism sector moving forward.

A high-speed train runs on a section of the Zhengzhou-Chongqing High-Speed Railway in Xiangyang city, central China’s Hubei Province. (Photo/Yang Dong)

The Zhengzhou-Chongqing High-Speed Railway also passes through central China’s Hubei Province and the area best known for the Three Gorges Reservoir. The railway links many popular tourist attractions such as Henan’s Shaolin Temple, Hubei’s Shennongjia, and Ciqikou, an ancient town in Chongqing. The line cuts the travel time between Zhengzhou and Chongqing from about eight hours to around four hours.

The high-speed railway brings to a close the previous history of having no railway service in several places in western Hubei, which boasts rich tourism resources. Cities including Xiangyang, Yichang and Shiyan, and the Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, as well as the Shennongjia Forestry District have rolled out favorable policies to encourage high-speed train trips, ensuring that high-speed train passengers can get free tickets or a discount on tickets for some tourist attractions.

Statistics indicated that nearly 60,000 people traveled to western Hubei by high-speed train within one week after the opening of the high-speed railway.

Thanks to the high-speed railways, the tourism industry has witnessed a period of fast growth. According to the booking data in the most recent 15 days from online travel agency Tuniu, the number of people who mainly chose high-speed railways for travel surged by 132 percent from the previous 15 days.

Data from Mafengwo, another online travel platform, showed that the search volume for “high-speed train trips” on the platform rocketed by 310 percent.

The further speed upgrade on high-speed railway routes has shortened the travel time between cities, bringing new development opportunities for high-speed train trips, said Cheng Chaogong, chief researcher with a tourism research institute affiliated to the online travel agency Tongcheng. Cheng added that high-speed train trips would become a popular choice for tourists during this year’s summer vacation.

According to Tongcheng’s data, the number of orders for high-speed train trips on the platform between June 1 and 20 grew by more than 80 percent from the same period in May. Over half of the platform’s users said that high-speed train trips, which became the most popular choice of transportation for them, would continue the trend towards rapid growth.

China’s high-speed railway network has been further improved in the past two years, which has shortened the travel time between cities and played a vital role in boosting tourism along high-speed railway routes, said Feng Rao, head of Mafengwo’s tourism research institute.

Data from Mafengwo showed that the search volume for “Shennongjia” and “Three Gorges” on the platform went up 133 percent and 357 percent, respectively, after the Zhengzhou-Chongqing High-Speed Railway opened.

Many tourist destinations along high-speed railways have meanwhile rolled out measures to stimulate tourism.

In Hubei and Chongqing, high-speed train passengers can get free tickets or a 50-percent discount on tickets for several famous scenic spots, which will help to drive the recovery of local tourism during the busy summer vacation season. By taking advantage of the opening of the Zhengzhou-Chongqing High-Speed Railway, Xiangyang, an ancient city, unveiled night economy-themed tourist routes to attract visitors.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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