BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhuanet) -- In addition to dragon boat racing and eating zongzi dumplings, the to-do list for this year's Dragon Boat Festival has two new items: touring Expo and watching the World Cup.
Since becoming an official holiday in 2007, the Dragon Boat Festival has become a busy travel season.
This year's three-day break is expected to entice more Chinese to travel, especially the more than 9 million students who finished college entrance exams last Tuesday.
The Ministry of Railways estimates about 20 million passengers will travel by train from Monday to Wednesday, up 8.7 percent year-on-year.
Tang Yibo, director of the travel service department of Ctrip.com, one of China's leading travel service agencies, said this year's holiday season was expected to see a substantial increase in the number of trips, thanks to visitors to the Expo.
A survey by Ctrip.com showed the Shanghai Expo is the top travel destination during the holiday season.
To meet the demand of surging passengers, 34 extra ticket offices have been opened, and dozens of additional trains have been scheduled to and from Shanghai.
Air tickets and hotels in Shanghai have been enjoying brisk sales. Little or no discounts are being offered for air tickets from Beijing to Shanghai during the holiday and the prices of some economy hotel rooms in Shanghai have nearly doubled.
Expo organizers have estimated that the average number of visitors to the Expo during the vacation may exceed 500,000 daily. So they have come up with emergency plans to guarantee visitors a comfortable experience, such as recommending visitors have meals in the Expo Garden's Puxi section to avoid long queues.
Apart from the Expo, many Chinese will probably begin the Dragon Boat Festival watching the match between Brazil and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea early Wednesday morning.
Such is the plan of Mou Yisu, a 22-year-old college graduate who has secured a job offer from a television station in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
A fan of the Brazilian team, he said: "I am really excited to celebrate the first victory of my favorite team in the World Cup and the Dragon Boat Festival together with my friends."
"We will drink beer and have zongzi dumplings."
The absence of the Chinese national team at the World Cup seems to have done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of soccer fans in China for the world's largest single event.
At the many lake-front bars in the Houhai area of Beijing, soccer fans cheered and blew horns during live broadcasts.
A bartender surnamed Zhang said they were expecting more customers in the next two days, but attributed the increase mainly to the World Cup.
For her, "the Dragon Boat Festival is like any other day for bars".
(Source: China Daily)