Travel Boom Expected as Dragon Boat Festival Draws Near

by Alice

With the Dragon Boat Festival approaching, a surge in bookings for short-distance travel destinations that embrace traditional Chinese culture is anticipated. This festival, which became the first Chinese holiday to be recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2009, will be celebrated with a three-day break starting Saturday.

The Dragon Boat Festival, falling on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, features various folk activities such as dragon boat races, eating sticky rice dumplings (zongzi), and hanging bunches of mugwort for blessings.


Travel agencies and industry insiders predict a travel boom, noting that tour packages are more affordable and scenic spots are expected to be less crowded due to the overlap with China’s annual national college entrance examination, the gaokao, beginning on Friday.


According to Group, bookings for short-distance tours have increased by 20% year-on-year, with popular destinations including Nanjing in Jiangsu province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, and Shanghai. Tuniu, another online travel agency, reports that many travelers are planning two- or three-day trips, seeking destinations rich in folk culture and culinary delights. Trendy destinations such as Altay in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have also gained popularity, spurred by hit television dramas.


Bookings for hotels and homestays offering folk activities have surged. Tujia, a homestay booking platform, reported a 50% month-on-month increase in searches for accommodations featuring dragon boat and zongzi activities, with bookings doubling year-on-year.

Xu Di, owner of Beima Villa in Dalian, Liaoning province, noted that 90% of the rooms are booked for the holiday, with full occupancy on Saturday. The homestay plans to organize traditional activities like making zongzi and palm-leaf fans. “Passing down traditional customs is important. We hope these activities help families appreciate the charm of the Dragon Boat Festival and create lasting memories,” Xu said.

Similarly, Longguili, a riverside homestay in Foshan, Guangdong province, has seen increased bookings due to its vantage point for viewing the dragon boat races. “Customers can see the intense races from our rooms,” said Lin Datao, the manager. “Guangdong’s long-standing tradition of dragon boat racing is a significant draw for travelers.”

Zheng Nan from Tuniu’s public relations department emphasized that younger travelers are increasingly interested in experiencing folk customs during traditional festivals. “Dragon boat races, for instance, not only promote traditional Chinese culture but also attract travelers to experience ‘The Fast and the Furious’ on the water,” she said.



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