What Happened: This year, China’s National Day holiday coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Starting September 29, the eight-day ‘Super Golden Week’ is this year’s most popular holiday. Not only has the number of travelers hit a record high, the tourism economy has received a significant boost.
China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism predicts that during this year’s Super Golden Week holiday, domestic tourism trips will reach 896 million, a year-on-year increase of 86 percent, and domestic tourism revenue will hit $107.7 billion (782.5 billion RMB), up 138 percent YoY. Popular destinations like Shanghai, Suzhou, and Chengdu are experiencing a significant spike in demand, with hotel and flight bookings increasing fivefold.
The Ministry of Transport of China stated that the number of cross-regional people movements across the country reached over 2 billion, an average of 257 million people per day.
“Economic challenges do not seem to have significantly impacted the demand for travel, as total trips and total tourism spend will likely exceed pre-pandemic levels. I would attribute that to pent-up demand for travel from the pandemic and the resilience of the Chinese consumer,” says Jacob Cooke, co-founder and CEO of WPIC Marketing and Technologies.
The Jing Take: Domestic tourism continues to dominate the travel industry. According to Tongcheng Travel’s ‘Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day Travel Hot List’ report shows that in the month before the holiday, the popularity of many long-distance domestic destinations — Xinjiang, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, and Gansu — had increased by more than 500 percent YoY.
For outbound trips, data from Trip.com shows that Thailand is expected to become the preferred destination for Chinese outbound tourists (partly due to its visa-free policy), followed closely by South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and the UK.
“One travel trend worth noting is that there’s a shifting preference towards self-organized travel and away from group travel, particularly among younger Chinese. Younger tourists are seeking authentic experiences from travel, and apps like Fliggy, Ctrip, and Xiaohongshu make it easier than ever for them to plan and book travel without going through a traditional agent,” says Cooke.
Additionally, temples have become a hot attraction among young consumers. The religious spots are believed to be the most suitable place for spiritual healing for young Chinese. Many people go to temples to relieve anxiety. To attract young tourists, some temples have also launched themed coffees, surprise boxes, blessing cards, and bracelets.
During the first three days of this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday, Haikou Customs reported a 40.3 percent increase in supervised offshore duty-free sales compared to the same period last year, reaching $66.4 million (426 million RMB). The number of duty-free shoppers also surged to 61,600 people, an 84.1 percent increase.
“Offline retail performs well because tourists will visit destinations’ shopping and entertainment centers,” says Cooke.
For those who stay home during the holiday week, e-commerce platforms, coffee chains, and supermarkets are luring them with attractive discounts and coupons, further boosting consumption ahead of the year’s largest annual shopping festival — ‘Double 11.’
In the face of the global economy’s challenges and China’s alarming youth unemployment and birth rate decline, the country is trying to go against the stream and stimulate internal consumption.