BEIJING – The snow crisis that hit China over the Spring Festival period had a devastating effect on tourism in those provinces worst hit by the snowstorms, with revenues down nearly a third compared with last year.

The seven worst-hit provinces, including Guizhou, Hunan, Anhui, and Hubei completely or partly ceased tourism businesses. Tourism earnings during the Spring Festival were down 29.75 percent, compared with last year’s holidays, Shao Qiwei, director of National Tourism Administration (NTA) said at a disaster relief work conference.

Preliminary figures showed the storms have cost China’s tourism industry 6.97 billion yuan (about 968.1 million U.S. dollars), said Shao.

Some 15,800 tour groups have been cancelled since mid-January, totaling 300,000 passengers. About 60,000 of the tourists were on in-bound tours while 240,000 planned for domestic travels, statistics from NTA showed.

According to NTA statistics, 9.73 percent less people traveled the 19 snow-hit provinces over the week-long holidays, with tourism revenue there down 11.47 percent over the same period of last year.