SHANGHAI – Chinese teens and twentysomethings are expected to form the majority of travellers expected to holiday over the upcoming five-day May Day vacation, which is expected to be the first peak travel season this year as travel restrictions are eased.
The pandemic has presented a great challenge for all of us. However, travel is a resilient and important industry, and coupled with the easing of restrictions as the pandemic is contained in China, a shift towards new, innovative modes of tourism is driving promising growth over the upcoming holiday, and indicative of new heights for the industry in the near future,
A Trip.com report released last week estimates that the number of travellers could likely double that of the April Qingming Festival’s, which drew over 43 million trips and over 8.2 billion yuen (US$1.2 billion).
Travellers are taking trips in their own backyard, shifting away from inter-provincial and outbound travel. Most trips taken are four days or less to surrounding areas.
The top ten sources of travellers are Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing, Chongqing, Xi’an and Changsha, while the top 10 destinations are Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Xi’an, Chongqing and Changsha.
Hotel reservation data shows that the most popular destinations are expected to be Sanya, Shanghai, Lijiang, Anji, Nanjing, Deqing, Hangzhou and Suzhou. Some 55% of hotel bookings were made for four- and five-star hotels.
Popular tourist attractions have also reduced their visitor capacity to 30% of less of its maximum capacity, in line with state regulations. There are expected to be 4,000 sites opened for visitors over this May Holiday, with many offering discounts of up to 50%, according to Trip.com’s over 100 partner sites.
To encourage domestic tourism, more than 20 provinces and cities, including Huzhou in Zhejiang province, Changzhou in Jiangsu province and Guizhou province, have issued tourist vouchers to residents.
Trip.com reported that it has seen an exponential increase in bookings on its platforms, with data suggesting that travellers are taking holidays in smaller groups of three to six, shorter holidays or three to four days, and local group tours using private cars and tour guides.
Car rental reservations have reaching 70% compared to the same period last year, while bookings for local tour guides have tripled month-on-month, with Internet ‘celebrity’ tour guides having already sold out for the May Day holiday period.
The holiday peak will be driven by younger travellers in their teens and twenties, who form 57% of total bookings over the May Holiday period. Digital marketing efforts such as livestream broadcasts and pre-sales discounts have resulted in a 277% month-on-month increase in bookings for hotels that participated in the campaign.
Throughout April, Trip.com group chairman James Liang appeared on live broadcasts in Huzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Jiangsu, attracting transaction volumes well over 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million) within an hour.
“The pandemic has presented a great challenge for all of us. However, travel is a resilient and important industry, and coupled with the easing of restrictions as the pandemic is contained in China, a shift towards new, innovative modes of tourism is driving promising growth over the upcoming holiday, and indicative of new heights for the industry in the near future,” said Trip.com group chairman James Liang.
Destinations in Asia are also beginning to open doors in anticipation of the return of Chinese tourists.
Hotels in Bali are reportedly planning to open doors in May, with tourism authorities expecting to welcome Chinese tourists to the island by June.
Bali Tourism Board’s chairman Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana said that the reopening of the hotels will depend on online travel agent platforms like Traveloka, though he says they are expecting to target domestic travellers first.