China’s inbound, outbound travel booms in summer, featuring culture, sport events and cooler climates
Published: Jul 07, 2024 08:59 PM
Tourists visit the Puyuan Fashion Resort in Jiaxing of east China's Zhejiang Province, April 26, 2024. Paying tribute to the elegant aesthetics of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the heyday of ancient Chinese art, while combing modern elements, the Puyuan Fashion Resort in Jiaxing of east China's Zhejiang Province offers an immersive cultural travel experience to visitors, ranging from Hanfu fashion shows to themed markets, concerts and sports games.(Photo: Xinhua)

Tourists visit the Puyuan Fashion Resort in Jiaxing of east China's Zhejiang Province, April 26, 2024.(Photo: Xinhua)

With the holiday rush approaching, China's inbound and outbound travel continues to boom this summer, featuring culture, sport events and coolness.

Analysts said that the development of inbound and outbound tourism will inject vitality into China's economic development and directly stimulate tourism consumption while driving the prosperity of related industries, such as catering, accommodation, transportation and retail. Meanwhile, more jobs will be created and more business opportunities will be provided for local people.

In the first half of the year, various industries related to tourism were integrated, and coordinated development was achieved. The added value of the service industry, including the culture and sports industry, is expected to account for more than 10 percent of the GDP of the first half of 2024, Jiang Yiyi, a vice president of the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism at Beijing Sport University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

With high temperatures hitting many cities, Chinese tourists' growing preference for avoiding the summer heat has unlocked the huge potential of many lesser-known domestic tourist attractions.

Examples include sightseeing in snowy mountains and grasslands at the Kunlun Mountains in Hotan, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, cantaloupe eating trips to Xinjiang's Hami, experiencing a cool summer of only 19 C at the Greater Hinggan Mountains in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, and feeding deer in the forests in Heilongjiang's Yichun.

Hotel and homestay bookings in these cities have increased more than three times year-on-year on some travel platforms.

Meanwhile, trip bookings to cooler parts of China have surged. So far, the July bookings for scenic spots in the three provinces in Northeast China - Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang - which are cooler than the majority of the rest of the country, increased by 85.3 percent on Meituan, a domestic online retail platform.

"The beach in Dalian [Northeast China's Liaoning Province] was packed with visitors, and merchants were actively promoting rental services for tents to relax on the beach during my weekend gateway," a Beijing-based white-collar worker surnamed Xiong told the Global Times on Sunday. 

She said that one famous local restaurant was full even on a Friday afternoon, adding that it took 40 minutes to get on the city's famous cable car ride next to the seaside.

With the start of the quarter-final of the UEFA European Championships and the countdown to the Olympic Games Paris 2024, sport events have led to the rise of related bookings, such as for hotel rooms with full home theaters and HD giant screen projection, which have increased by 210 percent on a monthly basis since June 15, according to statistics from Chinese booking platform Tongcheng Travel.

The number of bars offering European Championship-themed drink packages on Meituan increased by 150 percent compared with before the start of the game, and the number of group purchase orders related to the European Championship also increased by 853.57 percent from the previous month.

Overall, inbound and outbound tourism continues to boom this summer, with tourism-related consumption expanding, Jiang said.

"Domestic travel was driven by film and television works, which attracted many tourists to China's northwestern regions, such as cities in Xinjiang, Xi'an in Shaanxi Province, Dunhuang in Gansu Province. In terms of international travel, the number of Chinese tourists to Europe has increased significantly, due to the Olympic Games in Paris and the UEFA European Championship," said Jiang.

Thanks to a series of visa-free policies implemented by Beijing, more and more foreign tourists are visiting China, making "China Travel" popular on social media platforms.

Observers noted that the popularity of posts and vlogs on traveling in China showed that foreign tourists have a strong desire to experience the country personally, instead of learning about it from Western media. 

With China's development in recent years, urban construction is becoming more and more developed, shattering the image of China spread by Western propaganda in the past, observers noted, which explains why "China is not what I expected" was the most used title for vlogs. 

Interest in China has been increasing globally since the country expanded its unilateral visa-free travel policy, with 14 countries and regions added to the arrangement from November 2023 until the present. In the first quarter of 2024, there was a significant 400 percent growth in inbound travel to China, driven by the benefits of such visa-free policies, according to a report sent from to the Global Times.

From January to May this year, has recorded a significant upward trajectory in flight search volumes from Australia to China, with a notable 154 percent increase compared with the same period last year.