Economic Watch: China embraces travel boom as consumption recovers

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 22, 2023
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BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- China is poised to see travel demand soar over the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays, as the world's second-largest economy continues to unleash consumer potential.

Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Sept. 29 this year, followed by the National Day holiday from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6. With a growing number of travelers ready to sate their wanderlust, the tourism sector is expecting a boost to development as the long holidays near.


As the Chinese economy progresses steadily on the track of recovery, industry data is pointing to an enthusiasm about traveling among consumers that is expected to reinvigorate tourism and many other related sectors.

According to China State Railway Group, the country's railway operator, it sold 22.88 million train tickets for the Mid-Autumn Festival on the day the tickets went on sale, a record high for single-day sales.

Strong signals of recovery are also seen in China's air transport sector, with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) estimating some 21 million passengers who will travel by air in the upcoming holidays.

The sector will handle 1.96 million air passenger trips on average each day, a 17-percent increase from the level during the same period in 2019, according to the CAAC.

The surge in demand followed a sustained recovery of tourism consumption. Official data showed that the total number of domestic tourist trips reached 2.38 billion in the first half of 2023, up 63.9 percent year on year, while the revenue of the tourism industry expanded 95.9 percent from a year earlier to 2.3 trillion yuan (about 320.7 billion U.S. dollars).

Projecting a travel frenzy, the latest industry report by Chinese online travel agency Group said that as of Sept. 13, domestic bookings for the National Day holiday had increased 400 percent year on year.

Considering the length of the holidays, the agency said that long-distance travel will be favored by travelers this year. It noted that cross-provincial tours had constituted 73 percent of the total bookings for the National Day holiday, up 10 percentage points from a year earlier.

For Liu Yang, CCO of Tujia, a lodging rental platform, this new trend of travel may translate into new business opportunities for homestays, which cater to long-stay travel and family tours.

"The Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays are characterized by an influx of travelers of all age groups, and the market demand for long-distance travel will be greatly unleashed by then. In this circumstance, China's homestay industry will usher in a period of exponential expansion," Liu said.

Regarding the strong rebound of China's tourism, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has said that it would create more cultural and tourism products to balance the supply and demand sides of the thriving tourism market.

Efforts will also be made to further revitalize cultural and tourism consumption, so as to make tourism a persistent driving force of the country's economic recovery, the ministry said.


As China makes every effort to make cross-border journeys easier, overseas travel is gathering steam ahead of the holidays.

One of the fresh moves came last month as the country announced the resumption of group tours to a new batch of countries or regions, pushing the total number to 138.

It has also scrapped all pre-entry COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers entering the country to normalize inbound travel procedures and expedite the recovery of the travel industry.

Such measures have sparked a surge in inquiries to travel agencies. According to Group, the bookings of outbound tours during the National Day holiday had skyrocketed 20-folded by Sept. 13 from a year earlier.

Data from the agency showed that Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Britain were among the most popular destinations for Chinese travelers.

"China had remained the world's largest outbound travel market for years even before the pandemic, and Chinese tourists play a pivotal role in boosting the tourism of other countries and facilitating global economic recovery," said Feng Rao, head of a research institute under Chinese travel service and social-networking platform Mafengwo.

"The resumption of outbound group tours will have a great influence on travelers' decision-making in terms of travel consumption during the upcoming holidays, and I envision the outbound travel market to reach a climax during the period," Feng said. Enditem

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