Museums, localized travel and movies main force
Cities increase tourism promotion for Spring Festival
Published: Feb 06, 2024 11:39 PM
A girl and an adult stand before movie posters in a cinema during the New Year's Day holidays in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province. Photo: VCG

A girl and an adult stand before movie posters in a cinema during the New Year's Day holidays in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province. Photo: VCG

 Cities nationwide have been increasing tourism promotion to seize the opportunity presented by this year's eight-day-long Spring Festival holiday. Museums and localized tours are being seen as emerging boosters, while the movie industry remains an active player.

On Tuesday, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) said that it plans to launch a total of 25 Spring Festival-themed activities by cooperating with cultural institutions nationwide such as art galleries, performing troupes and, more importantly, museums to bring a more festive atmosphere to the 2024 tourism market.

Looking back to China's culture and tourism market in 2023, many scholars say that the constant-booming "museum trend" has become a phenomena that cannot be overlooked.

According to data released by the National Cultural Heritage Administration in October, both the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival and week-long National holiday together saw up to 66 million visitors walking into museums in China.

To keep the museum trend on track, over 100 museums across Beijing have decided to stay open throughout the Spring Festival holiday including the extremely popular Palace Museum and National Museum of China, according to the Beijing Municipal Cultural Heritage Bureau on January 31.

In addition, major institutions such as the Sanxingdui Museum in Southwest China's Sichuan Province and the Nanjing Museum in East China's Jiangsu announced on their website that there would be "no closures during the festival."

Since Zibo barbecue and Harbin's ice and snow tourism sensation marked the incredible achievements in each city's tourism economy in 2023, several Chinese cities' tourist bureaus appear to be trying "get as many visitors as possible" by showcasing their most unique tourism assets in a friendly competition to stimulate their local economies.

This wave is now being accelerated by the Chinese New Year.

China's Ministry of Transportation stated during a recent news briefing that about 9 billion trips are anticipated to be made across the nation within the 40-day period beginning on January 26 as the country's largest reunion holiday draws near. During this time, many people seek to travel, see friends, and reunite with their families.

"Chinese cities have unique tourism resources that set them apart from hot tourism destinations such as Japan and Europe. The combination of unique local tourism resources, improved transportation and thoughtful marketing can be seen as the future direction of China's tourism sustainability," Han Yuanjun, a deputy researcher at the China Tourism Academy, told the Global Times.

Catching the wind of China's biggest reunion holiday, many places, which have learned from and tasted the benefits of the booming tourism in 2023, are developing festival tourism according to local conditions with help from local governments. 

Ethnic minority villages promoting village Spring Festival galas featuring local folk customs is another recent example.

As the site of one of the 25 key Spring Festival-themed activities that MCT is participating in, the Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County in Liuzhou, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, held its own village gala this Saturday called the "Hundred Family Banquet." More than 1,200 people from all over Guangxi participated in the event.

On the same day, which was also the Chinese Kitchen God Festival, a village soccer super league and village gala combined celebration event was held in Rongjiang in Southwest China's Guizhou Province. 

Being the center and birthplace of China's rural soccer super league, Guizhou's Rongjiang was crowded with a large number of participants as migrant workers from outside the province returned to their hometown for the Chinese New Year.

To help facilitate travel during the holiday, some cities such as Changsha and Shaoxing have already introduced policies to provide free parking for drivers.

Travel isn't the only industry heating up. According to data from China's movie ticketing platform Dengta, as of Monday afternoon, the pre-sales box office on the first day of Chinese New Year had exceeded 230 million yuan ($31.8 million).

With the huge migration during the holiday, many business insiders have concerns that the high expectations for tourism may cast a gloom over the film industry. 

But other analysts point out that given the fact that holidays have been the main driving force for box-office revenue, the Spring Festival holiday is expected to be a major focus that kicks off the 2024 film industry's performance.

At the same time, the average ticket price for a movie is now 50.2 yuan, lower than the same period last year.

Chen Jin, a data analyst for the Dengta ticketing platform, told the Global Times on Tuesday that this year, most of the nine films scheduled for Chinese New Year are comedies, which should appeal to a broad audience.

"The higher the attendance rate, the better the comedy-watching atmosphere will be. Therefore, it is appropriate to have comedies ready for a popular movie period like the Spring Festival, as they meet the audiences' need for entertainment," Chen added.