Travel activities in China pick up on Dragon Boat Festival
Published: Jun 03, 2022 08:11 PM
Beijing residents have river-side picnic on the first day of the Dragon Boat Festival. Photo: Li Hao/GT
Beijing residents have river-side picnic on the first day of the Dragon Boat Festival. Photo: Li Hao/GT

China on Friday kicked off the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday, with many places across the country seeing a significant rebound in travel and other holiday activities from the May Day holidays boosted by improvements in the COVID-19 epidemic situation, eased restrictions and consumption-boosting measures. 

According to travel agency Ctrip, the total number of travel product orders booked through Ctrip on Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on Friday, increased by 37 percent nationwide compared to the first day of May Day holiday. 

As the epidemic lingers, consumers mainly booked short-distance trips, with about 90 percent bookings being for local scenic spots, Ctrip data revealed. Compared with the first day of this year's May Day holiday, bookings for outdoor activities such as domestic camping products and services increased by 68 percent, according to the company.

China's box office, which includes pre-sales, another important barometer for domestic consumption, for the 2022 summer blockbusters exceeded 100 million yuan as of Friday noon, according to ticketing platform Maoyan, as businesses in more cities and provinces resumed.

During the holidays, it is expected that the passenger flow will generally pick up, and the national railways will carry an average of 5.4 million passengers per day, an increase of more than 2 million on average over the May Day holiday, according to China Railway.

During the Dragon Boat Festival, the camping market in Shanghai has also  gradually woken up from its slumber. For example, the Niulu Camping Resort at Shanghai Haiwan National Forest Park began accepting reservations on the Ctrip platform from Thursday. In less than half a day, the camp's overnight camping allocation for Friday were sold out.

In addition to camping, hiking and cycling are also popular, with the popularity of "hiking" in Mafengwo increasing by more than 75 percent, on the eve of the holiday. Over the past week, searches for "where to have fun during the Dragon Boat Festival" has more than doubled on a week-on-week basis, the company told the Global Times. 

A key factor driving travel activities is preferential policies such as ticket discounts, which have been introduced in many scenic spots during the holiday as part of local governments' efforts to boost the recovery. For example, starting from Wednesday, many districts and counties in East China's Hangzhou, Zhejiang have begun to issue consumer coupons.

To stimulate cultural and tourism consumption, Central China's Hubei Province also issued coupons worth more than 10 million yuan through major e-commerce platforms.

One e-commerce platforms, festival-related products are also in high demand.

Latest data from supermarket chain Wumart showed that the sales of Zongzi, a traditional Chinese rice dumpling eaten during Dragon Boat Festival, increased significantly on Thursday across North China, including Beijing, with online sales spiking by 230 percent month-on-month, with offline stores recording a 120-percent growth.

Data from e-commerce platform Pinduoduo showed that in the past two weeks, the sales of Zongzi through the platform's 48-hour guaranteed delivery zone in Shanghai saw a month-on-month increase of 270 percent. 

An employee from Pinduoduo platform confirmed to media that the company will continue to supplement nearly a thousand types of high-quality agricultural products, with a maximum subsidy of more than 40 percent.

"The recovery of tourism is closely related to the epidemic control works... while Beijing and Shanghai have basically brought the epidemic under control, people have more confidence in traveling these days," Yang Jinsong, a senior expert from the China Tourism Academy, told the Global Times on Friday.

More importantly, the government's implementation of dynamic zero-epidemic measures and the corresponding supportive policies have also boosted the market recovery, experts noted.