China’s National Day (October 1) and Mid-Autumn Festival fall at the same time this year, unleashing a travel frenzy that has people calling the eight-day holiday China’s hottest Golden Week ever.
Festivities officially began with the hoisting of the national flag in Tiananmen Square at the crack of dawn on Sunday. According to state media, 300,000 people waited in the square overnight to see the sunrise flag-raising, which marked 74 years of the People’s Republic of China.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism expects the Chinese population to make a staggering 896 million domestic trips during the holiday, which dwarfs the 308 million trips made during Chinese New Year this year. The Ministry has forecast a corresponding domestic tourism revenue of 782.5 billion RMB, which, if hit, would be a year-on-year increase of 138%.
One record has already been broken this Golden Week after the country’s railways saw their busiest day ever on September 29, with over 20 million passengers travelling by train in a single day.
Besides the typical Golden Week hotspots of Beijing and Shanghai like Tiananmen Square, trips to Hangzhou are also in extremely high demand this year, as the National Day Golden Week coincides with the second week of the Hangzhou Asian Games. According to data from Ctrip.com, flight bookings to the Zhejiang provincial capital are up almost 20% year-on-year.
But other locations, both urban and rural, will likely see increased traffic on a smaller scale driven by social media trends and niche interests. “As lifestyles and consumption preferences of tourists become increasingly diverse, a short video online, a culinary experience, or a music festival can all serve as catalysts for spontaneous trips,” said Li Xiaochun from China Comfort Tourism Group.