A child poses for photos at an exhibition of New Year pictures in Xicheng District of Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 1, 2022. The exhibition kicked off here on Jan. 25, featuring more than 270 New Year pictures created to commemorate the arrival of the lunar new year in the Chinese tradition. (Xinhua/Hu Zhixuan)
BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- "The performances in our new theater are often sold out, and even tickets for standing-room have to be added, which was unimaginable in the past," said Hong Shijian, head of the Quanzhou puppet theater in east China's Fujian Province.
Hong was talking about the well-received string-operated marionette performances at his theater during the Spring Festival holiday, or Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, which ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6 this year.
Quanzhou held various cultural tourism activities, encouraging tourists to visit cultural heritage museums and traditional Chinese opera houses to savor the culture of the city.
Besides Quanzhou, cities across China have provided tourism products like local cultures to attract more people. Many have avoided long-distance travel this year and stayed put to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Online and offline cultural experiences are offered in many Chinese cities, covering different themes.
In Ningbo city of Zhejiang Province, nearly 100 cultural tourism activities were held during the Lunar New Year holiday in famous scenic spots, towns and villages, featuring local cuisine, folk customs, music, and exhibitions.
The city also sent out coupons worth 1 million yuan (about 156,873 U.S. dollars) online to spur local cultural tourism.
Cities like Harbin in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, famous for ice and snow-related tourism, have become hot destinations for tourists as the ongoing Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games draws global attention.
New products and consumption scenarios also give fresh experiences to visitors.
During the seven-day holiday, Ningbo has opened a cultural tourism market, pooling creative products and local food from neighboring cities, and adopting methods like the "blind box," VR, and livestreaming to bring more tourist involvement.
In January, China unveiled a development plan for the tourism sector. It aims to build a stronger modern system for the sector by 2025, integrating cultural development and boasting an improved barrier-free environment and services.
The integration of culture with tourism is a process for people to appreciate Chinese culture and enhance their cultural confidence, and promote the organic integration of social and economic benefits of tourism, said an official with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Short-distance travel and private tours using an independent vehicle have become the choice of most tourists during this holiday.
Orders for intra-provincial tourism products accounted for 65 percent of the total, increasing significantly compared with the holiday period in 2019, according to China's leading online travel agency Trip.com Group, formerly known as Ctrip.
The preferences of tourists are reflected in their booking of vacation rentals.
According to Muniao, an online booking platform for short-term property rental, the number of intra-provincial homestay orders is expected to reach 1.53 times that of the same period last year.
The average number of days they stayed has dropped, with 58 percent of people choosing to stay for only one or two days.
Customers this year are less sensitive to prices, and their requirements for quality services are higher, according to a Muniao report. ■