BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- It was freezing cold as the temperature was below minus 15 degrees Celsius outside. However, a hotpot fanatic surnamed Wang was enjoying the renowned Chinese cuisine on the frozen surface of the country's second-longest river.
The steaming-hot pot, about two meters in diameter, was filled with various local specialties, such as fried tofu, local ribs, and meatballs, as well as fresh fish and shrimp caught through newly-cut holes in the ice.
The pot stood on the frozen surface of the Yellow River at its section of Pianguan County, north China's Shanxi Province. The ice was around 60 centimeters thick, safe enough for the tourists.
"It was definitely the best experience ever in my life so far," Wang said, with his face brimming with laughter, satisfaction, and a crimson nose.
Besides "hotpot on ice," Wang, together with his wife and daughter as well as other tourists, also enjoyed other activities on the ice, such as go-karts, snowmobiles, and bumper cars.
For the Chinese, family reunion is the eternal theme of the Spring Festival. Among all kinds of holiday activities, traveling with families is gaining increasing popularity.
After China optimized the COVID-19 response policies, the pent-up demand of the public for travel has been unleashed.
Data from Alibaba's travel branch Fliggy showed the number of domestic long-term tour orders during the Spring Festival increased by more than 500 percent year on year, domestic air ticket bookings by more than 40 percent, and train ticket bookings by nearly 80 percent.
Localities across the country also spared no effort to hold various cultural and tourist activities to woo tourists.
A total of 25 parks in Beijing, including the Summer Palace and Beihai Park, greeted visitors with winter sports such as ice cars, ice slides, and snow frisbees. On Thursday alone, the sixth day of the week-long Spring Festival holiday, Beijing parks received 630,000 visits. The Summer Palace registered over 75,400 visits, said the Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau.
The Universal Beijing Resort also promoted a Spring Festival-themed event, having more tourists from across the country than last year's holiday.
According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, this year's Spring Festival holiday has seen 308 million domestic trips, up 23.1 percent year on year, recovering to 88.6 percent of 2019 level.
Domestic tourism revenue reached around 375.8 billion yuan (around 55.52 billion U.S. dollars), up 30 percent year on year, recovering to 73.1 percent of that registered in 2019, the ministry added.
Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, predicted that this year's Spring Festival will be the best and most prosperous for tourism market recovery in the past three years.
Besides the tourism market, China's cinemas also welcomed crowds of moviegoers during the holiday.
The holiday box office sold a total of more than 187.6 million tickets as of 12:00 p.m. Friday, generating a whopping revenue of 67.6 billion yuan, according to box office tracker Maoyan.
The earnings overtook that of the same holiday last year, making this year's Spring Festival holiday the second highest-grossing to date.
"The audiences are all back!" said Dong Wenxin, a cinema manager in the eastern Chinese city of Jinan, Shandong Province. ■