China's tourism booms during May Day

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/5 20:48:39

Extra day unleashes potential for Chinese holiday consumption

Travelers visit the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum during the four-day May Day holiday in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province on Thursday. Photo: IC

A total of 195 million Chinese tourists traveled across the country during this year's May Day holiday (Wednesday to Saturday), a 13.7 percent increase year-on-year, a demonstration of the strong potential of Chinese tourists, data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Saturday showed.

Tourism revenue was up 16.1 percent to reach 11.8 billion yuan ($1.8 billion), according to the ministry., a Chinese business-to-consumer e-tourism website, released a report on Saturday, showing that up to 38 percent of the tourists spent between 501 yuan and 1,000 yuan on their May Day holiday, up 1.2 percent from last month's Qingming holiday.

Jiang Yiyi, director of international tourism development at the Beijing-based China Tourism Academy, noted that this year's boom in tourism was largely attributable to the government's decision to stretch the holiday to four days, which unleashed potential consumption. 

"Since the abolition of the seven-day holiday in May, travel time has become more limited even though people have the money and will to do so. The four days allow people to have more holiday options, including trips to more distant destinations," Jiang said. 

"That is why there has been a notable increase not just in domestic trips but also international ones."

In this year's May Day holiday, international trips jumped significantly compared with last year. According to statistics released by Alipay, demand jumped for international travel from second-tier cities, including Nanchang in East China's Jiangxi Province, Nanning in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Urumqi in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The number of tourists going to overseas destinations doubled from last year. 

Jiang told the Global Times that the improved infrastructure, including high-speed railways and the lifting of tolls on expressways, contributed to the increase in tourists this year, because such moves cut the cost of taking a trip.

"When people plan trips, they mostly consider the financial and time costs," Jiang said. "With longer holidays and lower costs, people have more incentive to go to more places and spend money on leisure activities."

Of all leisure activities, this year's May Day holiday witnessed a huge increase in cultural-themed trips. A report by said that tourists on trips that include museums, ancient towns or other cultural activities jumped 20 percent compared with the same period in 2018. The report cited data released by The most popular cultural destinations included the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Thatched Cottage of Dufu in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, and Shaanxi History Museum in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. 

Li Mingde, former secretary general of the Beijing Tourism Society, told the Global Times that the development of cultural-themed trips shows the huge demand for higher-end educational trips.

"Many of the trips taken in the May Day holiday are family trips, and parents are hoping not just to have a relaxing time but also to take the opportunity to teach their children about history and culture," Li told the Global Times on Sunday.

Newspaper headline: Domestic tourism booms during May Day

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