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The Sichuan sizzle
2023年1月17日,素有“天下第一灯会”美誉的自贡灯会在春_112811.jpg 1月20日,市民游客在自贡仙市古镇的河边喝茶晒太阳。_112807.jpg 1月24日,市民在自贡一家商场内玩套圈游戏。_112809.jpg 2023年1月24日,春节假期里自贡的餐饮业人气爆棚,各类型_112812.jpg
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  • Zigong's 29th International Dinosaur Lantern Festival lights up on January 17, just before the arrival of Spring Festival—which fell on January 22 this year
  • Sitting by the river in the ancient town of Xianshi, Zigong, residents and tourists lounge in the sun and chat away over cups of tea on January 20
  • People throw hoops in the hopes of winning a prize at a shopping mall in Zigong on January 24
  • Zigong's restaurants are packed with patrons during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday from January 21 to 27, giving the local food and beverage industry a much-needed boost
  • 2023年1月17日,素有“天下第一灯会”美誉的自贡灯会在春_112811.jpg
  • 1月20日,市民游客在自贡仙市古镇的河边喝茶晒太阳。_112807.jpg
  • 1月24日,市民在自贡一家商场内玩套圈游戏。_112809.jpg
  • 2023年1月24日,春节假期里自贡的餐饮业人气爆棚,各类型_112812.jpg

The 29th International Dinosaur Lantern Festival, which lit up on January 17, brightened the dark night in Zigong City, Sichuan Province in southwest China. As the city's calling card, the lantern spectacular attracted more than 300,000 visitors during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday from January 21 to 27. Ticket sales rose 77 percent year on year to 51.3 million yuan ($7.6 million).

The smallest prefecture-level city in all of Sichuan, Zigong is home to some of the world's oldest dinosaur fossils, a 1,000-year-old well salt culture, lantern craftsmanship and a myriad of local delicacies that cater to every foodie's tastes. The city welcomed a whopping 1.06 million tourists over the holiday period, which was also the first Spring Festival break following the easing of China's pandemic control policies, up 46.6 percent year on year.

The recovery of Zigong's tourism industry was perhaps the epitome of the nationwide lift in tourism seen during the holiday.

According to data released by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, the 53.88-million tourist visits to the province made it the top-ranking holiday destination in the country, with tourism revenue reaching 24.22 billion yuan ($3.6 billion). These two figures recovered to 89.73 and 84.75 percent of the 2019 Spring Festival holiday numbers, respectively.

(Text and photos by Wei Yao)

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon

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