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8 Feb, 2014

Chinese Spring Festival holidays boost tourism revenues, and pollution


BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — Tourism revenue in China rose 16.4 percent year on year during the week-long Spring Festival holiday, the National Tourism Administration said on Friday.

Tourism revenue reached 126.4 billion yuan (20.69 billion U.S. dollars) during the holiday, which began last Friday, according to a statement released by the administration.

The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, fell on Jan. 31 this year. It is the most important holiday in China for family reunion.

The number of tourists during the Spring Festival holiday topped 231 million across the country, up 14 percent from the same period last year, the statement said.

As many as 8.6 million people visited the country’s 39 key tourism cities, which include Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Haikou.

Outbound group travel tourists reached 4.72 million, up 18.1 percent from the same period last year. Insiders estimated a similar number of tourists for self-guided foreign travel, putting outbound tourists this year at a total of around 9 million.

Many Chinese cities see air pollution on Spring Festival eve

BEIJING, (Xinhua) 2014-02-01 – China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on Friday announced that many cities were hit by heavy air pollution on the eve of the Spring Festival due to unfavorable weather conditions and fireworks.

Among the 161 monitored cities, 68 were hit by “heavy air pollution”  and 16 suffered “severe air pollution” at the night of January 30, the eve of the Spring Festival.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said earlier Friday that the city’s air quality on the eve of the Spring Festival was “much better” than that of last year with less fireworks set off.

But the Chinese capital, together with Tianjin Municipality, Hebei Province and the Yangtze River Delta area, was still rated by the MEP as “heavily polluted” at the midnight of January 30.

Fireworks were blamed for the serious air pollution, according the MEP.

An unidentified official with the MEP said the northern Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region should continue to suffer moderate to heavy air pollution on February 1, due to the unfavorable atmospheric conditions.

From February 2, cold air should head south and help blowing away pollution sources and improving the air quality of Beijing, said the official.