China is poised to see a boom in travel demand during the upcoming May Day holiday, as the world's second-largest economy regains vitality following a shift in COVID-19 response.
Domestic travel bookings for the five-day holiday that starts on April 29 this year have seen a surge of over 700 percent from the same holiday last year, the latest data from online travel agency Trip.com Group showed. The agency also noted an explosive growth in the demand for tours abroad.
"China's tourism market has embarked on a track of recovery this year. We will see a persistent 'travel frenzy' during the May Day holiday," said Li Huiqin, a tourism expert with the China University of Geosciences.
Data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism showed that the country saw nearly 1.22 billion domestic tourist trips in the first quarter of 2023, up 46.5 percent year on year. Domestic tourism revenue increased 69.5 percent from the same period last year.
"The pent-up travel demand will be greatly unleashed in the post-pandemic era," Li said, forecasting that the tourism market will fare better than in the same period of 2019.
The latest data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China showed that flight bookings for the upcoming May Day holiday have already exceeded 6 million, generally equivalent to the level registered during the same holiday in 2019.
The administration expected the total number of air passenger trips nationwide to hit 9 million during the holiday.
Local tourism authorities are also tailoring region-specific measures to further drive up the burgeoning travel demand. A common approach is to make full use of local cultural resources.
A case in point is Beijing, where traditional art forms and intangible cultural heritage are valuable assets of tourism. A total of 1,170 art shows have been scheduled at 147 venues across the metropolis during the holiday.
Eyeing the new trend, market observers expect 2023 to be a year when culture merges deeper with tourism, and they forecast that the country's tourism sector will record a remarkable rebound.
A recent report issued by the China Tourism Academy said that the number of domestic tourist trips will reach about 4.55 billion, a surge of 73 percent year on year. The total number of inbound and outbound tourist trips will surpass 90 million, doubling from a year ago.