At the international airport next door, a steady stream of passengers passed through security, with a transport worker saying the day before had been even busier.
Beijing’s two international airports are expected to handle around 2.3 million people over the holiday, state media reported, with airlines operating larger planes and adding more flights to meet demand.
Almost 13 million people were predicted to visit the capital over the holiday, a 21.9 per cent increase from the 2019 pre-pandemic figure, state media said.
On Friday, people flocked to Beijing’s Forbidden City to take advantage of the sunny autumn morning, many of them families.
CLEAR SKIES AHEAD
Overall, China will see 1.58 million daily inbound and outbound passenger trips over the vacation period, according to a National Immigration Administration (NIA) forecast on Wednesday.
Notwithstanding the holiday surge, the country’s travel and tourism sector has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels, industry insiders told AFP.
But they are confident it is only a matter of time.
“Originally, we thought it could all happen by the end of this year or beginning of next… (But) I think we’re probably talking about the next two to three years for it to be completely back,” World Travel and Tourism Council chief Julia Simpson told AFP in an interview this week.
Simpson pointed to visa delays for Chinese nationals and fewer flights available as key reasons why travel out of China had not rebounded as quickly as expected.