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Beijing receives less tourists during Spring Festival holiday
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Beijing received much less tourists during this year's weeklong Lunar New Year holiday as blizzard and icy rain hit the country's south and the government's adjustment of holiday plan.


The city accommodated 650,000 domestic tourists, down 21.7 percent from last year's holiday. Its tourism revenue was 1.29 billion yuan (178 million U.S. dollars), marking a decline of 23.5 percent compared with the same period last year.


Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau said the snow and ice storms prior to the holiday was the major factor that dampened people's interest of traveling, as many in the south were focusing on restoring order and many others were worried about weather and traffic situation.


In addition, the new plan made the holiday start from the last day of the Chinese lunar calendar, a time for family reunion. This has in fact shortened the time people would spend out of their hometowns.


However, Beijing still saw more outbound travelers. The number of tourists traveling overseas on package tours reached 46,000, up 3.4 percent over the same period last year.


(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2008)


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