China's traditional Dragon Boat Festival expected to see 100 million tourist trips, surpassing pre-virus levels in 2019
Published: Jun 22, 2023 07:21 PM
People compete in a dragon boat race. Photo: VCG

People compete in a dragon boat race. Photo: VCG

As the traditional Dragon Boat Festival kicked off, China's consumption has been firing on all cylinders on the first day of the three-day break. It is expected that the number of tourists during this year's holidays will top over that of pre-virus level in 2019 to hit 100 million passenger trips, generating a tourism income of 37 billion yuan($5.15 billion), making it "the hottest" holidays in five years in terms of consumption.

It is expected that a total of 16.2 million passenger trips will be made on Thursday, with 10,868 trains in operation, according to data released by the China Railway. On Wednesday, a total of 13.86 million passenger trips were made, up 11.8 percent compared with that of 2019.

It is also estimated that from Wednesday to Sunday, considered the Dragon Boat Festival 'travel rush,' a total of 71 million passenger trips will be made by rail, averaging a volume of 14.20 million per day. Thursday is expected to be the peak for passenger flow.

According to data released by China's Ministry of Transportation, the national highway is estimated to carry 30.95 million passenger trips on Thursday, up 66.3 percent year-on-year from the same period in 2022. A total of one million passenger trips are expected to be made by water on Thursday, up 164.82 percent year-on-year.

Traditional folk tourism has been gaining popularity among Chinese travelers during the festival. For example, cities well known for "dragon boat racing," such as Foshan in South China's Guangdong Province, have received a large number of tourists from other provinces and regions, the reported earlier, citing data from domestic travel platform

The Global Times learned from multiple travel platforms that short distance travel is another trending travel option during the three-day holiday.

A Beijing-based white-collar worker surnamed Zheng told the Global Times on Thursday that he was traveling to Ji'nan, East China's Shandong Province, a nearby city that takes about two hours to reach by high-speed train. He estimated the trip will cost about 5,000 yuan.

"A number of sightseeing spots in Ji'nan are crowded with tourists, and the hotels I stay in have also been fully booked," Zheng said, pointing to the rapid recovery of China's tourism market. Last year, he spent the holidays in Beijing with his friends.

Data from online shopping platforms Meituan and Dianping showed that as of June 14, tourism reservations for the three-day holidays have jumped by 600 percent year-on-year. And relevant searches for "round trip" have risen by 650 percent year-on-year in this week.

Meanwhile, outbound trips have increased 12 times during the festival, data from showed. About 65 percent of the outbound tourists choose to fly to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, according to a report by travel platform Tongcheng Travel.

Domestic spending during the festival will likely ramp up, as the festival closely follows the May Day holidays and the "618" online shopping festival, while a continued shopping spree for traditional products and services will fire up a consumption recovery, Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Institute told the Global Times.

It is expected that consumption will be a mainstay of China's economic drive, with the contribution of final consumption accounting for above 60 percent to economic growth, observers claimed.

Dai Bin, head of the China Tourism Academy, estimated that a total of 100 million people will make trips during this year's Dragon Boat Festival, up 30 percent compared with last year. The travel consumption will also expand 43 percent year-on-year to 37 billion yuan, according to a report by the state broadcaster the China Central Television.

During the Dragon Boat Festival in 2022, a total of 79.61 million tourist trips were made, generating total revenue of 25.82 billion yuan, data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism revealed.

Chinese policymakers have been stepping up efforts to propel the recovery of domestic consumption, said the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner.

Global Times