China’s Golden Week travel not expected to return to pre-COVID levels this year By Reuters
By Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Golden Week holiday this year is unlikely to see domestic travel rebound to pre-COVID levels, industry estimates show, hurt by uncertainty over pandemic curbs and consumer fears about the health of the economy.
As a gauge of demand for the second largest economy, the seven-day Oct. 1 holiday to commemorate the founding of China has been a busy time for travelers.
LY.com, a Chinese travel website, said that it expects 650 million visits. This is about 80% more than the amount made in the same time period last year and the lowest number since 2017. This is just a fraction of the 637,000,000 trips that were made in 2017 when the holiday was only eight days long.
Zhang Qidi (visiting researcher, Center of International Finance Studies) said that COVID-19 has a significant and long-lasting impact.
The decline in disposable income has been caused by citizens’ high levels of debt due to their car and home loans.
China’s economy is recovering from the coronavirus-led recession last year, but momentum has slowed in recent months due to COVID-19 curbs in many provinces and power outages.
Travellers are increasingly looking for shorter, less expensive trips.
According to Little Red Book (Chinese lifestyle website), online searches for “niche destinations” rose in the lead-up to holiday. Last week, Trip.com Group reported that over half the users of its domestic travel platform preferred shorter trips.
Trip.com reported that “Going to fifth tier cities is now the best option for long holidays.” This refers to the most rural and underdeveloped areas of the country.
China’s commerce ministry announced this month that they would intensify their efforts to improve consumer spending. According to state media, at least 20 local governments gave out coupons for use in shopping malls and convenience stores. This was to promote spending between the Mid-Autumn festival in September and Golden Week.
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