New forms of Spring Festival tourism emerge in China

(People's Daily Online) 10:38, February 05, 2024

As the most significant traditional festival in China, the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, is rich with customs and rituals, offering a prime opportunity for cultural exploration.

China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) recently launched a series of 25 Spring Festival-themed activities, spanning popular cultural performances, public service events, and experiences of intangible cultural heritage. They also include tourism and leisure consumption, winter sports, educational trips, and cultural and historical exhibitions, alongside international and domestic celebrations. These activities provide diverse options for people to enjoy the festive season and a joyful holiday.

Visitors walk past lanterns during the 38th Qinhuai Lantern Festival at Bailuzhou Park in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province. (People's Daily Online/Yang Suping)

Museums remain key to cultural tourism, with museums across China welcoming 1.24 billion visits in 2023, more than double the figure from 2022.

During this year's Spring Festival, most national and provincial museums will stay open, featuring not only their permanent collections but also special exhibitions themed around the Year of the Dragon and other features.

According to an official from the National Cultural Heritage Administration, more than 400 themed exhibitions have been planned nationwide, including one on the culture of north China and a digital showcase of dragon-themed cultural relics by the Shaanxi History Museum. Additionally, over 1,000 social education and cultural activities, including seal printing workshops and performances of ancient Chinese music, are scheduled, promising a rich cultural experience for attendees.

"Since last year, new trends have emerged in the performing arts market, with many seeking out new tourist destinations for art performances," stated Zhang Yi, an MCT official.

This year's Spring Festival will see 10 national-level art troupes, managed directly by the MCT, presenting 204 offline performances. These will include Peking Opera classics like "Havoc in Heaven," dance drama tours such as "The Journey of a Legendary Landscape Painting" and "Li Bai," and the musical "Cat God in the Forbidden City" by the China National Theater for Children.

Additionally, Art China and many other online broadcasting platforms will launch special Spring Festival programs to showcase the past year's highlights in China's stage arts.

Beyond enjoying high-quality art performances, individuals can also engage with videos and livestreams, and listen to Chinese New Year-themed songs on their mobile phones, experiencing the festive atmosphere from various locations without leaving home.

Visitors watch a cultural relic with a dragon pattern at Shenyang Museum in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province. (People's Daily Online/Huang Jinkun)

A recent livestreaming event in Changsha, Hunan Province, celebrated the upcoming Chinese New Year. It was organized by the China Association of Performing Arts in collaboration with platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou, and Tencent Video. The event featured dedicated livestream areas, allowing online users to virtually enjoy the Spring Festival's joyful and peaceful ambiance.

Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, estimated that this year's Spring Festival holiday is expected to be a "super golden week," a term referring to national weeklong holidays in China, characterized by high enthusiasm for travel and consumption.

Various regions across China are capitalizing on their unique cultural and tourism resources to offer a broad spectrum of Spring Festival travel products.

For instance, Jilin, Liaoning, and Xinjiang are hosting ice and snow-themed tourism events, featuring a range of travel products and preferential measures for the public, including sports, wellness, hot springs, and folk activities.

Eleven provinces, including Anhui, Jiangxi, Shandong, Hainan, and Sichuan, have launched educational tour activities focusing on the natural and ecological environment as well as regional cultures.

Reflecting the global appeal of the Spring Festival, many countries and regions will host "Happy Chinese New Year" activities, which have been organized successfully for over 20 years. These include programs like Chinese New Year Family Day in the U.S., celebrations at Trafalgar Square in Britain, temple fairs in Russia, and a "Joyful Spring Festival" grand temple fair in Egypt.

"Happy Chinese New Year" activities will be organized in nearly 100 countries and regions, featuring nearly 500 diverse exchange activities. Meanwhile, a lantern lighting event will illuminate about 20 countries, including the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, and New Zealand, sharing the joy and harmony of the Chinese New Year globally.

Shi Zeyi, deputy director of the International Exchange and Cooperation Bureau of the MCT, stated that various tourism promotion activities would be conducted overseas during the Spring Festival. These efforts aim to encourage domestic companies to develop more culturally rich inbound tourism products, enabling more foreign tourists to experience the charm of the Spring Festival.

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Du Mingming)


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