Labor Day festivities promise a boom in domestic tourism


About 200 million people in mainland China were expected to travel during the upcoming Labor Day holidays. / CFP

About 200 million people in mainland China were expected to travel during the upcoming Labor Day holidays. / CFP

China is preparing for a major tourist boom, with up to 200 million people in mainland China expected to travel during the upcoming Labor Day holidays. Statistics released by online travel agency Trip.com show that bookings are up compared to the same period in 2019.

Bookings at various travel sites and hotels have witnessed a sharp rise in the holiday season, which runs from 1 to 5 May. Hotel bookings have risen 43 percent from two years ago, while for flights, the rise is 23 percent. The week before Labor Day holidays, a check on the booking platforms shows that almost all train tickets have been sold out.

It seems that those who were unable to travel during 2020 are making the most of this year’s national holidays. During the recent Qingming Festival on April 3-5, national reserves on Trip.com increased by 300 percent compared to pre-pandemic figures.

Mai Mi, a human resources representative for a Beijing-based education company, said she was delighted to definitely go on holiday, but added that she had noticed a price increase.

“Flight prices seemed a little more expensive than before the pandemic,” he said. “Everywhere I looked to go (Chengdu, Changsha, Xiamen, Shenzhen, etc.), flights were at least 2,500 yuan round trip and have been increasing rapidly since I looked six weeks ago.”

The data show that more than 70% of tourists opt for interprovincial travel. Car rental companies report a 126% increase in bookings compared to the same period in 2019, with about 90% of drivers planning to travel between different regions of the country.

The data show that more than 70% of tourists opt for interprovincial travel. / CFP

The data show that more than 70% of tourists opt for interprovincial travel. / CFP

Simon Cockerell, the CEO of a Beijing-based tourism company, chooses to take a road trip west this Labor Day holiday.

“For reasons of comfort, flexibility and because China is a very good place for road trips. It’s a huge country, with roads in good condition and generally nothing too busy,” he said.

Cockerell, who passed his Chinese driving test in 2011, noted that one of the reasons for the popularity of domestic tourism is the fact that international travel is still off the table.

“In previous years I would have the option to choose between domestic and international travel, but this time there are only domestic travel, so that will be what it will be,” he said.

Most respondents said they consider it safe to travel, thanks to the widespread vaccination program and other preventative measures.

“Much of the urban population has been vaccinated and people still wear masks on public transport. In addition, there are many health code controls in place. China is at the forefront of the game in this regard,” Mai noted.