HAIKOU, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- China's southern island province of Hainan saw robust tourism during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, which ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6.
The province handled more than 5.4 million domestic tourist trips during the holiday and raked in 7.53 billion yuan (about 1.18 billion U.S. dollars), according to the provincial tourism authority.
Duty-free shopping with various promotional activities has been a highlight of the tourism boom.
"Duty-free shopping has become an integral part of traveling in Hainan," said Huang Ruijie, a tourist from southwest China's Guizhou Province who made some purchases at a duty-free shopping mall.
She added that it was pretty worthwhile shopping, as there were promotional activities and discounts for the festive season.
Ten offshore duty-free shops in Hainan sold goods worth about 2.1 billion yuan during the Spring Festival, an increase of 151 percent year on year, according to the provincial department of commerce.
While tourists from all over the country enjoyed duty-free shopping, many visitors from around the island preferred to enjoy the rural villages in the mountainous areas of central Hainan, home to the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park.
Wang Yiqin, owner of a rural homestay at the foothills of Bawangling Mountain in Changjiang Li Autonomous County, had a busy time welcoming guests during the holiday.
An increasing number of urban residents nowadays favor the rural landscape, especially during the blooming season of ceiba, Wang said, adding that he plans to further expand and upgrade his homestay. "I believe the prospects of rural tourism will continue to improve."
Wangxia, a remote village tucked away in the mountains of Changjiang, received a large number of tourists. Liu Guifang, a local villager, opened a restaurant with her husband in 2020 and during the holiday this year, the restaurant hosted hundreds of guests.
"The number of visitors saw a boom, and luckily I had made full preparations before the Spring Festival," said Liu, noting that she plans to brew more wine, so visitors can savor the specialty.
According to official data, the rural scenic spots around the island received about 540,000 tourists during the holiday, and they were mainly Hainan residents. Besides, the average occupancy rate of hotels in Hainan reached approximately 72 percent, up 16.5 percentage points compared to last Spring Festival.
China aims to build Hainan into an international tourism and consumption center by 2025 and a globally influential tourism and consumption destination by 2035. ■