The world may still be in the grips of a global pandemic, but some countries appear more 2019 than ever before.
Over the Labor Day holiday in China, new images show thousands of local travellers pack into popular tourism sites given the country has essentially ‘eradicated’ the COVID-19 virus.
The stunning images show crowds packed like sardines, with very few wearing masks, along the Great Wall of China.
Along with the few wearing masks, there is little social distancing being observed on the wall.
China reported 11 new COVID-19 cases in the mainland on Sunday, down from 15 cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said.
The National Health Commission, in a statement, said all the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 90,697, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4636.
The five-day holiday in China caused a frenzy for local tourism, with millions taking local holidays amid the pandemic.
As the nation appears to have controlled COVID-19, Bloomberg reported Chinese residents would make 200 million trips across the long weekend.
Tickets for domestic flights, into theme parks and stays at hotels have rapidly sold out, as the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic gathers pace.
According to the Trip.com Group Co., bookings in all aspects of travel over the five-day break have all surged, surpassing those for the same period in 2019.
Give the nation’s quick response to extinguishing virus outbreaks, Chinese residents have confidence in travelling again – signifying a frenzy and clear economic rebound.
This holiday is the first long break in largely COVID-free conditions for Chinese residents, with many forced to cancel plans during the long Lunar New Year break due to a domestic coronavirus outbreak.
According to Reuters, mass vaccination in China’s biggest cities has also boosted confidence to travel, with some even adding extra days on to the already lengthy weekend to holiday for longer.
But alongside the surge in demand, there’s been a similar surge in prices, with some reports indicating tours will cost three times higher than a year ago.
“Thanks to the effective epidemic containment measures adopted by China, the five-day holiday is expected to unleash the pent-up demand for air transport,” said Shang Kejia, vice director of the Department of Transport of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) at a press conference on April 16.
“Both the volume and prices of flight tickets showed rapid growth, and are likely to rise above the level from 2019, boosted by the sharp growth in the number of mid- and long-distance travellers in the extended holiday.”