Life & Leisure

China marks 2023 ‘Golden Week’ with record travel, consumption boom

Beijing, Sep 29 (EFE) – China began its traditional “Golden Week” Friday, a holiday period that this year includes the celebrations of the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, surpassing the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019.

With forecasts of about 800 million trips during this festive period, more than 100 million a day according to the Chinese Tourism Academy, data shows an economic recovery and the resurgence of consumption.

Compared to 2019, railway authorities predict that train traffic will go from 138 million back then to 190 million in 2023.

Additionally, more than 21 million people are expected to take domestic flights, an 18 percent increase from 2019.

Meanwhile, hotel bookings for popular destinations have seen a 514 percent increase compared to 2019 according to travel portal Qunar, showing strong demand from domestic travelers.

Not only is a boom expected in domestic tourism, but that which crosses the borders, reopened in January 2022 after the end of three years of anti-pandemic measures with the “zero Covid-19” policy, is also predicted to increase significantly. This is 44 percent times higher compared to May’s holidays according to several travel portals.

The elimination of visas for Chinese tourists in countries such as Thailand has also driven a significant increase in international travel from China.

Almost sold out travel offers for Thailand and an almost 800 percent increase in online searches for the country according to vacation portals such as support the high demand for international tourism from China during this “Golden Week.”

This resurgence in consumption is considered a key driver of China’s economic growth in the fourth quarter, although numerous Chinese cities have issued coupons to stimulate this aspect during the National Day holidays.

Retail sales of consumer goods in August grew 4.6 percent year-on-year, exceeding expectations and reinforcing confidence that the economy will grow in a range of 5 percent to 5.2 percent this year, experts told state newspaper Global Times.

These analysts said the “Golden Week” and sporting events, such as the Hangzhou Asian Games or the return of the Chinese tennis circuit with the Beijing and Shanghai tournaments, will act as additional economic drivers in the fourth quarter, supported by policies aimed at stimulating consumption.

Direct consumption accounted for 77.2 percent of China’s economic growth in the first half of the year, far exceeding the percentage for all of 2022, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s Economy Ministry has declared 2023 the “year of stimulating consumption,” which includes the implementation of different measures and programs throughout the year.

After a promising start to the year, the post-pandemic recovery of the Chinese economy has shown signs of slowing down in recent months, growing less than expected in the second quarter (+6.3 percent year-on-year.) EFE


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