China sees surge in tour bookings for upcoming Spring Festival
Bookings for trips during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday, also known as the Spring Festival holiday, continue to soar on online travel platforms.
Statistics from e-commerce service platforms Meituan and Dazhong Dianping indicated that tour orders booked half a month in advance for the holiday increased about five times year on year, with Beijing, Shanghai, Sanya, Harbin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xi'an, Xishuangbanna, and Beihai becoming popular tourist destinations.
Tourists play at an ice-and-snow carnival held at a scenic area in north China's Shanxi Province. [Photo courtesy of the interviewee]
Data from online travel agency LY.com revealed that searches for flights from Feb. 8 to 17 rose nearly two times year on year. In particular, the search volume for outbound flight tickets increased about seven times from the same period last year, surpassing the 2019 level.
The search volume for "where to go for the Spring Festival" surged 350 percent in the past week on Chinese travel service and social networking platform Mafengwo.
Traditional Spring Festival customs like lantern shows, temple fairs, and markets have long been main themes for Spring Festival tourism. Alibaba's travel platform Fliggy showed that cultural tours, folk custom tours and theme park tours are popular among young people, with searches rising over three times year on year and bookings for some ancient towns and theme parks soaring several dozen times year on year.
Trips between China's north and south will become a distinct feature of the tourism sector during the holiday.
According to Chinese online travel agency Tuniu, tourists from Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hunan and other places in the south of China tend to choose the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and northeast China as destinations, while those from Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Shaanxi, and northeast China show a stronger willingness to travel to destinations in Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, and Jiangsu.
"The differences in environment and culture between the north and south of China give tourists a very different experience," said Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University's International Business School.
Ice and snow tourism has become a smash hit this winter. To bring more benefits to tourists during the Spring Festival, multiple regions across China have rolled out measures to transform "cold resources" into a thriving economy.
Northeast China's Jilin Province launched activities themed on winter sports and educational trips. It also rolled out over 50 study tour activities and more than 30 preferential measures including slashing ticket prices or offering free admission, and providing special awards and subsidies for tourist charter flights and tourist trains.
Taking full advantage of its abundant ice and snow resources, Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, carried out a range of winter tourism activities, and over 400 cultural and sports tourism activities.
Ma Yiliang, chief statistician of the China Tourism Academy, said the ice and snow economy has brought new changes to traditional tourism consumption, including booming consumption during the "tourism off-season,” and new consumption scenarios, which are conducive to the expansion of the tourism market.