Travel boom boosts recovery during May Day holiday

(Xinhua) 09:02, May 05, 2023

This photo taken on May 3, 2023 shows passengers in the waiting hall of Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in Shanghai, east China. (Xinhua/Wang Xiang)

BEIJING, May 4 (Xinhua) -- As China embraced the first May Day holiday since the country optimized its COVID-19 response measures, a dramatic travel spree lit up the country's confidence for economic recovery.

Astonishing data has shown the strong vitality and resilience that China possesses.


The Chinese people made 274 million domestic trips during the five-day break that began on April 29, soaring 70.83 percent from the same holiday a year earlier, and 19.09 percent more than 2019 before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said.

Tourism revenue reached 148.06 billion yuan (about 21.44 billion U.S. dollars), surging 128.9 percent from last year, according to the ministry.

The passenger volume handled by China's commercial transport network during the May Day holiday hit nearly 270 million trips, or a daily average of 53.94 million, up 162.4 percent from a year ago, said the Ministry of Transport.

According to a report released by online travel agency Trip.com Group, ticket sales of domestic scenic spots skyrocketed by 900 percent from the previous May Day holiday and doubled compared with 2019.

Meanwhile, outbound travel orders increased nearly 700 percent from the same period of last year, with the number of outbound air tickets and hotel orders surging by nearly 900 percent and 450 percent, respectively, the report said.


Apart from people's enthusiasm for traveling, authorities also rolled out measures such as coupons and shopping festivals to promote consumption.

Driven by factors including policy support, the release of consumer demand accelerated. Sales of key retail and catering enterprises increased 18.9 percent from the May Day holiday in 2022, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Meanwhile, the total box office of movies exceeded 1.5 billion yuan during the holiday period, the China Film Administration said.

Emerging leisure options in China, such as camping, frisbee games, and cycling, were also popular among consumers, with such orders on the e-commerce platform Meituan seeing a remarkable growth of 200 percent from last year.

"The domestic consumer markets such as catering and tourism recovered strongly, which fully demonstrated the strong resilience and potential of China's economy, and laid a solid foundation for the economic recovery throughout the year," said Wang Yun, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research.


The booming travel rush, along with China's promising economic performance, has brought improvement in expectations of multiple institutions.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that a robust rebound means China is set to account for around one-third of global growth in 2023 -- giving a welcome lift to the world economy.

Meanwhile, World Bank Group President David Malpass announced earlier in April that the lender has raised its global growth forecast for 2023 to 2 percent from 1.7 percent in January due to China's recovery.

Luo Zhiheng, chief economist at Yuekai Securities, estimated that the economy is expected to achieve fast growth in the second quarter, with a GDP growth of more than 7 percent year on year.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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