CHINA. A late surge in travel bookings to Hainan for Chinese New Year translated into big crowds into the leading Sanya duty free shops over the weekend.

Our special correspondent in Sanya sent us these pictures from CDF Mall in the Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex in Haitang Bay. He noted: “It seems busier than I personally have ever seen it.  Although local folks are saying travellers may be down -30-40%, I am guardedly optimistic that… retail sales in Hainan travel retail will hit records [this CNY].”

These pictures taken by our special correspondent in Sanya over the weekend highlight the big crowds and heavy demand from shoppers at CDF Mall in Haitang Bay

Leading travel analyst ForwardKeys reported last week that travel bookings to the island’s southern airport, Sanya Phoenix, have surged since 1 February. This coincided with successful efforts to curb the latest outbreaks in northern China. Until yesterday (one case in Hebei province) there had not been a locally transmitted case in Mainland China since 6 February) and restrictions on travel from low-infection areas of China were eased.

Pre-Lunar New Year peak: The latest data shows a spike in bookings from 1 February. Source: ForwardKeys

The leap in bookings – which exceeded 2019 levels for travel to Sanya during the comparable period – came just in time for the key Chinese New Year holiday period which began Friday.