China’s Travel Spending Surges During Dragon Boat Holiday, Indicating a Resilient Tourism Market

by Alice

China witnessed a notable surge in travel activity and expenditure during the recent three-day Dragon Boat Festival, surpassing last year’s figures and even pre-pandemic levels from 2019, signaling a promising trend for the nation’s tourism sector amidst an uneven economic recovery.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Chinese travelers embarked on 110 million trips from Saturday to Monday, marking a 6.3% increase compared to the previous year. Concurrently, travel spending amounted to 40.35 billion yuan (US$5.56 billion), reflecting an 8.1% rise over the same holiday period last year.


“The domestic culture and tourism markets remain stable and orderly,” declared the ministry in a statement released on Monday, underscoring the resilience of the sector.


The surge in revenue over the extended weekend hints at favorable prospects for China’s upcoming school break. Despite potentially lower metrics compared to the travel boom witnessed last year post-Covid-19 restrictions, the conclusion of university-admission exams is anticipated to fuel family travel during the summer break, contributing to a more sustained travel surge, according to Steven Zhao, CEO of China Highlights online travel agency.


While China recorded 96 million trips during the Dragon Boat Festival in 2019, indicating a significant rebound from pre-pandemic levels, the recent surge in travel mirrors the momentum observed during the five-day May Day break. During that period, domestic trips totaled 295 million, marking a 7.6% increase year-on-year and a 28.2% surge compared to pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019.

The robust growth in travel during the Dragon Boat Festival also saw a substantial influx of visitors entering mainland China from offshore, underscoring the revival of tourism activity. This resurgence is considered a barometer of consumer confidence amidst China’s fluctuating economic recovery post-zero-Covid controls in late 2022.

With travelers exhibiting diverse preferences, ranging from traditional dragon boat races to experiential farm visits and recreational activities in shopping districts, the tourism sector anticipates a buoyant summer break. Zhang Chen, vice-president of Chinese travel platform Fliggy, describes the Dragon Boat Festival as a precursor to the upcoming peak vacation season, expressing optimism for a robust increase in domestic tourism spending.



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