Golden Week boosts domestic tourism close to the pre-pandemic level

During the 7-day National Holiday (also known as Golden Week), China’s domestic tourism has rebounded to nearly 80% of the pre-pandemic level. Due to a lack of confidence in foreign countries’ handling of the pandemic, this year’s Golden Week becomes a great opportunity to boost domestic travel, which is characterised by short distance, rustic and patriotic trips.

During the holiday, six out of ten chose to travel locally, according to Fliggy, an Alibaba-backed online travel agency. Most of them went to parks, exhibitions or theatres that are within a three-hour drive. Such short distances also encouraged lots of them to embrace low-carbon transport. On the national day alone, over 20 million users on AutoNavi (a leading mapping company in China) opted for bikes, public transport or walking to travel eco-friendly.

Short-distance trips in China vary in different regions. For instance, the most popular activity for people in big cities like Shanghai is camping; for those in coastal areas, such as Guangdong, it is surfing, and in cities along the Yangtze River like Hunan, it changes to fishing. During the pandemic, those local activities have gained popularity in China, and the Golden Week gave the market a further boost – bookings for surfing and diving raised by 200% month-on-month, and sales in imported camping products saw a 130% increase in September compared with last year.

For those who preferred to travel over a longer distance, rustic and patriotic destinations were top of their lists. As a result, Fliggy saw a 560% surge in hostel bookings in smaller cities like Huangshan, Zhangjiajie and Huzhou, and 400% of that increase was contributed by Gen-Z. Those youngsters are also interested in patriotic tours (also called Red Tourism in China).

In a survey conducted in July, 76.92% of Gen Z said that they look forward to going on a red trip with their parents and immersing themselves in historical sites to learn about China’s modern history. Changsha, one of the most popular red tourist destinations, is expected to see 49% more tourists during Golden Week this year.

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