As China’s Labor Day holiday began on April 29th, millions of tourists headed to the country’s popular tourist sites, resulting in chaos and damage to cultural relics. According to the Chinese Ministry of Transportation, more than 159 million passengers traveled by rail, road, water, and air during the five-day holiday, an increase of 161.9% from the previous year.
The sudden surge in travel was attributed to the country’s “Zero COVID” policy, which has successfully contained the virus. However, the policy’s effectiveness in controlling the spread of COVID-19 may have contributed to the overwhelming number of tourists during the holiday period.
Many famous tourist sites experienced overcrowding and disorder. In Huangshan, one of China’s famous mountains, a video of people spending the night in a restroom has gone viral on social media. The Huangshan management office explained that these people missed their hiking time and were unable to book a hotel, forcing them to spend the night in the restroom.
In Guangzhou’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, a group of tourists damaged a sign while taking photos. The cathedral, completed in 1863, is a must-visit destination for tourists, and was designated a national key cultural relic in 1996.
Meanwhile, in Wuanming Wonderland Lake, which was once a royal garden during the Qing Dynasty, a black swan was found dead. The management office is investigating the cause of death, as rumors on social media suggest that the swan was hit by a rock thrown by a tourist or died from being fed by tourists.
The management office had limited daily entry to 40,000 people during the holiday period, but all tickets were sold out, causing severe overcrowding at the site.
In Chongqing, the famous Chenjiaping Pedestrian Suspension Bridge was also closed due to overcrowding, causing traffic chaos in the surrounding area.
The Labor Day holiday may have provided a much-needed boost to the tourism industry, but it has also exposed the challenges of managing large crowds and preserving cultural heritage sites.