China's tourism enters peak season as Chinese tourists embrace summer vacation
Published: Jun 29, 2024 04:19 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

With the summer holiday period getting underway, China's tourism market is expected to enter its peak season, particularly in outbound tourism, as major online travel agencies report an increase in bookings.

The summer vacation period has always been a peak for students and parents, and this year's summer tourism market reflects the strong and changing travel market with overseas travel, study tours, and parent-child travel all proving popular choices.

The first travel peak will  start on the weekend, according to reports from online travel agencies and A report by Ctrip, one of China's largest online travel agencies, showed that the search popularity for domestic hotels and flights has increased by more than 20 percent compared with the same period in 2023. Data from Chinese home-share platform Xiaozhu showed that summer accommodation bookings in popular cities had more than tripled year-on-year.

Long-distance travel account for a major proportion of this year's summer vacation bookings. The Ctrip report noted that over 70 percent of summer travel bookings were for long-distance distance. In addition to some traditional long-distance destinations, bookings for destinations in Northeast China saw an increase of 40 percent year-on-year. The bookings for Southwest China also experienced a 25 percent rise.

Data from revealed that in July, the proportion of domestic long-distance trips to all travels surpassed 50 percent for the first time in the platform's history. Additionally, Xiaozhu reported that cross-provincial travel products accounted for 71 percent of all bookings.

Specifically, due to the popularity of Chinese TV series To the Wonder, the enthusiasm for tourism in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region continues to soar, with accommodation bookings in Xinjiang's Altay region surging 61 percent year-on-year on the Xiaozhu platform.

Outbound travel is also expected to boom this summer. So far, bookings for international flights on have increased by 150 percent year-on-year, indicating a strong demand for outbound travel during the summer vacation that estimated is expected to return to the levels in 2019. 

Visa-free policies to a number of popular tourist destinations in Asia for Chinese tourists have had a significant impact on demand. Data from showed that nine out of the top 10 destinations of international flight bookings are in Asia, highlighting the rising popularity of "Asian travel."

The average price for international flight tickets and hotels during the summer has decreased by at least 20 percent compared with the same period last year. 

The European Cup and the Paris Olympic Games have also contributed to the increase in travel bookings to Europe. According to data from Tongcheng Travel, bookings for flights to Paris from major Chinese cities saw a remarkable surge of over 70 percent year-on-year in July, while hotel bookings in Paris experienced a nearly 150 percent increase. Additionally, group tours to France during the Olympic Games have surged 225 percent compared to the previous year.

Data from Ctrip showed that French summer travel orders jumped by 80 percent year-on-year, while bookings to Germany have seen growth of more than 1.5 times year-on-year.

Furthermore, with the launch of direct flights to Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, and other long-distance destinations have also attracted interest from Chinese tourists, with summer travel bookings to these destinations surging by over 80 percent compared to the previous year.

The thriving summer tourism market in China highlights the immense potential and growth opportunities in the country's tourism market, which also serves as a manifestation of economic vitality and changing spending habits as people pursue new holiday options, Zhu Keli, founding director of the China Institute of New Economy, told the Global Times.

China has long regarded tourism as one of the key areas for reviving and expanding consumer spending. In recent months, central and local authorities have introduced a number of favorable measures to support the cultural and tourism economies, which in turn is expected to boost overall tourism, Zhu said.

Global Times