SOURCE / ECONOMY
Movies, tourism, catering expected to be firing on all cylinders in the coming holidays
Published: Mar 30, 2021 06:53 PM
Tourists view Chishui waterfall in Zunyi City, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Oct. 7, 2020. Noted for its rich history and natural resources, Zunyi City attracts lots of tourists during the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)

Tourists view Chishui waterfall in Zunyi City, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Oct. 7, 2020. Noted for its rich history and natural resources, Zunyi City attracts lots of tourists during the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)

China's consumption is expected to be firing on all cylinders - from the movie box office and tourism to the catering sector - during the upcoming three-day Qingming Festival and five-day May Day holidays, with Chinese consumers releasing their pent-up purchasing power as the country lifts curbs on people's movements after controlling the pandemic.

Industry insiders expect at least 100-percent growth in the film and tourism sectors' revenues during the upcoming holidays compared with last year, when those industries were near a standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak. The rebound is expected to drive retail consumption to surpass the 2019 level and lay the foundation for significant second-half GDP growth this year, analysts said.

"This year's Qingming festival will provide a turning point for China's cinemas, which were battered by the pandemic," Zhejiang Province-based film director Xiang Kai told the Global Times on Monday. 

He estimated that the box office revenue during this year's Qingming Festival, which runs from April 3-5, will be 30 percent higher than in 2019, mainly driven by domestic films. According to Xiang, more than 10 new domestic films will be screened during the festival, many more than in 2019. 

China generated 695 million yuan ($107 million) in box office revenue during the Qingming Festival in 2019.

Industry observers noted that China's film industry revenue is expected to jump even further during the Labor Day holidays. "China's film industry and cinemas have survived the darkest moment and are ready to take off," Xiang said. 

A laundry list of available travel data signals that the Qingming Festival may lead to the first domestic travel peak for 2021.  

According to a report Ctrip.com sent to the Global Times, the number of Chinese tourists during the Qingming Festival will exceed 100 million, compared with 43.25 million in 2020 and 112 million in 2019. 

Jia Jianqiang, CEO of 6renyou, an online tourism agency in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that bookings for the 2021 Qingming Festival and May Day holidays through his company are likely to exceed those of 2019 and may be twice the level of 2020, partially thanks to China's heightened efforts to inoculate its citizens. 

"Some state-owned enterprises have issued specific policies encouraging their employees to take days off during the coming holidays," Jia said, adding that bookings for domestic sightseeing tours witnessed a significant rise.

The Ctrip report also estimated that the number of scenic spot ticket bookings via the platform would rise 10 percent from the level of 2019 during the Qingming Festival.

"I call it 'compensation tourism' as I've been trapped in Beijing for more than half a year. Now it's time for me to treat myself to a tour that is close to nature," a Beijing-based white-collar worker surnamed Zheng told the Global Times on Monday. 

Zheng spent more than 10,000 yuan on air tickets for his four-day trip to Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Wang Bin, general manager of Beijing-based New Jingya Cook Superb Cuisines, told the Global Times on Monday that the restaurant has received many reservations for the coming public holidays and business is even better than the Spring Festival.

"As the country has eased pandemic prevention and control measures, consumers' confidence has been boosted. Our customer flow is increasing, and I expect an even better performance during the May Day holiday. Our revenue goal for this year is for an increase of 10 percent," Wang said. He said his customer flow has seen an increase and daily business revenue has risen 5 percent.

But industry insiders said that some tourism hot sites may still impose visitor limits, which may curb consumption.

"Consumption is expected to play a greater role in the second-quarter's GDP. It will become a key engine in driving economic growth for the whole year," Hu Qimu, chief researcher at the Sinosteel Economic Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday. 

In the first two months of 2021, China's retail sales jumped 33.8 percent to reach 6.97 billion yuan, slightly above market expectation, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.  


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