Bustling May Day holidays display China's great economic potential: Global Times editorial
Published: May 04, 2023 12:39 AM
People visit Jianchang ancient city in Xichang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 1, 2023. China is witnessing a travel boom during this year's five-day May Day holiday. (Photo by Li Jieyi/Xinhua)

People visit Jianchang ancient city in Xichang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 1, 2023. China is witnessing a travel boom during this year's five-day May Day holiday. Photo: Xinhua

The just-ended May Day holidays brought a boom to the Chinese consumer market. According to data released by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Wednesday, a total of 274 million domestic trips were made during the May Day holidays, with domestic tourism revenue reaching 148.056 billion yuan ($21.42 billion). These two indicators both surpassed the 2019 pre-COVID level, serving as a barometer of economy. These large-scale consumption crazes demonstrate China's immense potential for economic growth. To some extent, it is a sign of great potential in improving national consumption enthusiasm and promoting industrial development in the future.

The uniqueness of this year's May Day holidays is that it is the first 5-day-long holiday after the optimization of the prevention and control measures of the COVID-19 epidemic. Its boom is not only reflected in various statistics, but also in people's intuitive feelings. Apart from traffic jams, the scenic spots were congested with tourists who went for camel riding and sightseeing cruises. Meanwhile, as visa processing and international flights gradually resumed, Chinese tourists' outbound travel during the May Day holidays also saw "retaliatory" growth. Although there were positive and negative remarks on social media about crowded attractions, it can't be denied this was a holiday that completely emerged from the epidemic and was full of hilarity.

Especially during these holidays, people found many new ways and elements to enjoy themselves. For example, the influence of "internet celebrities" has been particularly prominent, especially in the recently popular local barbecue of Zibo, East China's Shandong Province. Also, a new group of cities, such as Southwest China's Chongqing and Changsha, the capital of Central China's Hunan Province, went viral online. In order to attract visits, various places are competing with each other more aggressively in tourism promotion, and many directors of the local culture and tourism bureaus have appeared before the camera to promote tourism. These are intuitive manifestations of China's hot consumer market. In addition to the influence of "internet celebrities," cultural consumption has also been more prominent during this year's May Day holidays, such as trying hanfu, an ancient garment traditionally worn by the Han ethnic group, socializing at exhibitions, and attending music festivals. The combination of traditional folk customs with new art has attracted a large number of young people. All of these indicate more possibilities for the multi-dimensional upgrading of the tourism industry.

We also noticed that in this May Day "exam," some businesses withstood the test through honesty and sincerity, consolidating their advantages, while others didn't due to price gouging and breaching of the contract, failing to convert online popularity into stay. On the one hand, it reminds us of the need to regulate tourism chaos; but on the other hand, it also indicates that with the continuous upgrading of people's travel needs, there is still a lot of room for development in China's tourism industry in terms of reception capacity and service quality.

The bustling May Day holidays are in concert with the accelerated recovery of the consumer market in the first quarter. It can also be seen as a natural continuation and improvement of China's good economic performance as well as the acceleration of the release of internal impetus to consumption since the beginning of the year. The significance of the hot May Day holidays lies in boosting the economy through consumption and showing people's greater aspirations and pursuit of a better life as they walk out of their homes. It has increased people's confidence in the future development potential at both the economic and societal levels and effectively refuted the "Chinese economy collapse" theory and skepticism over China's economic development with vivid real-life scenes. The strong resilience and potential of the Chinese economy have been repeatedly proven by facts. 

The May Day holidays mirror China's tourism industry, which is also a prominent indicator to observe the country's consumer market and economic operation. People have reason to believe that the enthusiastic atmosphere of the May Day holidays is just one aspect of China's overall economic upswing. The confidence of 1.4 billion people in pursuing a better life and realizing it is releasing tremendous energy, making the development momentum in China even stronger and the dividends of development extending to all parts of the world. A report recently released by the International Monetary Fund shows that the Asia-Pacific region will contribute around 70 percent of global growth this year and the Chinese economy will become a key in boosting regional growth. 

Against the backdrop of the current tightening global financial environment, high inflation, and the crisis in the US and European banking industry dragging down economic growth, China's remarkable May Day data has given a boost to the world economy's recovery. Some American media outlet quoted an expert as saying the huge wave of travel during May Day "smashed all expectations." But we want to say, the outside world should not be surprised by China's performance during this holiday, as it is the true face of China's economy.