Tourism market expecting holiday boom

By Cheng Si (China Daily) 09:44, January 13, 2023

A snowboader takes on the slopes at Mazongshan Ski Resort, in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region. [Photo provided by Wang Shaokai/For chinadaily.com.cn]

Tourism: Travel demand driving rise in price of air tickets and hotels

China's tourism market is expecting a strong rebound during the Spring Festival holiday, with travelers eager to take long-distance trips and spend more money after the nation optimized its COVID-19 control measures.

Travel agency bookings and data show travelers are also ready for longer stays during the seven-day break that will start on Jan 21, with journeys to other regions and overseas.

During recent Spring Festival holidays, travelers preferred short-distance trips to destinations near their homes or workplaces due to virus control measures and health concerns.

Travel portal Tu-niu said that 72 percent of its bookings for the upcoming holiday period were for cross-regional trips. Destinations with a coastal location or mild climate, such as Hainan province in the south and Yunnan province in the southwest, are high on travelers' lists.

Longer holiday stays are also favored, with around 31 percent of its online customers booking six-day trips, and 28 percent choosing four-day stays.

Travel agency LY.com is also seeing strong customer interest online.

On its platform, consultancy requests for long-distance travel during the holiday surged 20-fold in the week to Monday.

Consultancy requests for travel visas rose eightfold over the same period.

Winter locations with snow views and ice sports, such as Changbai Mountain in Northeast China's Jilin province, are also attracting a lot of interest.

According to a report by LY.com, bookings and interest in ice rinks and ski resorts are increasing.

Beijing's Shichahai ice rink, for example, saw searches for the venue as a Spring Festival holiday destination on the agency's platform increase by 76 percent compared with the same period last year.

Ding Fan, who is in charge of travel portal Fliggy's Spring Festival holiday team, said that the tourism market will see growth in the number of travelers and the amount they spend.

However, the strong travel demand is also driving a rise in the prices of air tickets and hotels.

Travel portal Trip.com Group, said the price of a one-way flight to the popular beach destination of Sanya, Hainan, during the holiday period has surged 47 percent year-on-year to over 1,900 yuan ($280). A one-way air ticket to Dali, in Southwest China's Yunnan province, has jumped 65 percent to just over 1,500 yuan.

The group said that hotel rooms it offers on its online platform for Sanya and Yunnan's Xishuangbanna — a destination famous for its tropical landscape and exotic ethnic Dai culture — are all booked for the holiday.

Outbound tourism during Spring Festival is also expected to surge after the easing of the country's COVID-19 policies.

Trip.com Group said bookings for overseas travel have surged by 540 percent from the previous Spring Festival holiday, while the average cost of overseas bookings has risen 32 percent.

Overseas destinations favored by travelers include Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Bookings for Melbourne, Australia, for example, have increased 50-fold from last year, while bookings for Bangkok, Thailand, rose tenfold.

Fliggy, the travel portal, said it has seen a spike in bookings for overseas trips on its platform. Bookings for international air tickets have tripled from last year, with reservations for the most popular destination, Thailand, increasing 200-fold.

Shen Jiani, a researcher at Trip.com Group, said that with the relaxation of travel policies, Chinese tourists are more confident about making overseas trips. "Chinese travelers will help energize the world's tourism," she said.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Liang Jun)


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