As disposable income is on the rise in China, a summer vacation is no longer an unattainable luxury for a growing number of Chinese households, according to a recently released summer tourism report. Beijing-based tourism research institute Chinese Tourism Academy (CTA) said that domestic summer resort tourism is set to take off rapidly over the next few years, helped by some major societal and policy changes in the country.
The report, which was released in a Beijing conference last Friday, is titled “2014 China Urban Development Report of Summer Tourism,” and commissioned by CTA and the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). CTA President Dai Bin said at the conference that after a decade of promoting and nurturing China’s tourism scene, summer tourism is ready to take off primarily for three reasons.
The first reason is China’s increasing affluence, which has caused consumers to desire a better quality of life that includes both material goods and more diverse experiences. Secondly, resorts in traditional summer destinations, such as Guiyang and Xining, have been trying to upgrade themselves and become responsive to customers’ needs in a bid to stay on the Chinese travelers’ summer list. Lastly, the gradual implementation of paid vacation leave and the government’s release of the “National Tourism and Leisure Outline 2003-2020” memo (Chinese:《国民旅游休闲纲要 [2013-2020年]》) have led to parents being more willing to travel with their children, says Dai. He says that family outings and summer vacations together have become the main trips Chinese travelers undertake in recent years.
Zhang Dong, vice president of CTA, said that the report is a culmination of travel research and climate science, and that the scientific data the report contains will not only help tourists make informed travel decisions, but also help businesses and local governments plan their tourism strategy.
According to China-based English news site Shanghai Daily, the report says that many travel agencies have new programs and airlines are scheduling more flights to summer resorts. The report also suggests travel planners and agencies to come up with convenient tourist itineraries and to expand their services beyond sightseeing, by including exhibitions and health clubs into travel packages.
CTA’s policy research associate Dr. Wu Pu said at the conference that the efforts to promote China’s summer tourism are finally visible, with different cities adopting vastly different paths and models. “On the overall, however,” says Wu, “the industry is still very much in the incubation period of its development.”