Sara Thopson - Apr 7, 2024
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The Qingming Festival holiday is approaching, and China's holiday travel industry is showing new vitality.

The number of air tickets and hotel bookings in popular cities during the Qingming Festival holiday is increasing daily, and many places across the country are ushering in a cultural tourism boom. Experts point out that the number of advance bookings for air tickets to small cities increased more than twice year-on-year. Driven by holidays such as the Qingming Festival and "May Day," the tourism market is expected to maintain a high heat level in the second quarter.

Holiday Travel Is Booming

A recent report by Tongcheng revealed that most tourists prefer to travel short distances during the Qingming Festival holiday. However, some travelers extend their holidays and visit destinations like Gansu and Xinjiang.

One of the popular travel keywords during the Qingming Festival is flower viewing. According to Ctrip data, bookings for flower-viewing scenic spots have increased more than six times compared to the previous year. The most popular flower-viewing destinations include Yangzhou, Wuyuan, Shanghai, Wuhan, Wuxi, Huangshan, Zhangjiajie, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Luoyang, which have the highest number of booked flower-viewing bookings.

Traditional cultural theme activities in some Chinese cities have become popular tourist attractions during the Qingming Festival. For instance, the Flower Dynasty Festival, held in Jinan from March 23 to May 6, showcased national style, Hanfu, traditional markets, poetry, and cultural activities. This led to an increase in Jinan's tourism search popularity, and the popularity of Jinan's Qingming Festival holiday increased by 62% year-on-year. Nanjing Mochou Lake, Changsha Tongguan Kiln, Nanning Acacia Town, and other scenic spots have also launched flower festival activities, providing a new way of "cultural flower appreciation."

Today, domestic travelers in China prefer diverse and unique destinations. They look for recognizable products or scenarios. An old street, a vegetable market, or unique food can become the highlight of a city's "explosion." For locals who want to convert traffic into consumption, impressing tourists with sincerity and better service is essential.

Travel Companies Seize the Opportunity

As the Qingming Festival holiday approaches, several travel companies have started preparing tourism services to cater to the growing demand. Lingnan Holdings has launched various eco-friendly suburban tourism products like greenway cycling, flower and fruit picking, and healthy hiking, which aim to provide tourists with a nature-based experience and promote environmentally sustainable travel. Meanwhile, Three Gorges Tourism has created themed activities like "Spring Tour to the Three Gorges All the Way" and combined online and offline activities like Douyin Challenge and live broadcast room benefits to enhance the travel experience and attract more tourists.

In addition, several airlines have recently launched new routes for passengers. On April 2, China United Airlines began operating direct flights from Beijing to Dunhuang every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Dunhuang Mogao International Airport has also implemented a new flight schedule for the season, with 22 passenger routes and 18 navigable cities planned to provide more convenience for passengers.

Air China currently has 25 international and regional routes and plans to operate 448 routes in the new season, including 96 international passenger routes, 12 regional routes, and 340 domestic routes. Air China will cover 40 countries and regions, with 187 cities included in its routes.

China Eastern Airlines plans to carry over 1,240 international and regional weekly flights. They aim to recover 90.8% of the same period in 2019 and have opened new routes from Shanghai to Riyadh and Vienna.

Visa-free Policy Boosts Inbound Travel

Recently, the number of flights and routes in China has increased, making it easier for tourists to enter countries. This has led to a significant rise in inbound tourism before and after the Qingming Festival. According to Ctrip's data, the number of inbound travel bookings for small and long holidays has increased by 153% year-on-year. Additionally, the expansion of China's "visa-free circle of friends" has contributed to the rise in inbound tourism. The new visa-free inbound travel orders from Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, and six other countries have increased by 359% year-on-year.

According to experts, the holiday travel industry in China is showing signs of warming up in the domestic market, and the recovery of international travel is also accelerating. This is good news for various businesses in the travel industry chain, including catering leaders. These hotels are in high demand, high-quality tourist attractions, duty-free shops, and tourism platforms, as they are expected to benefit from this trend. With the strong support of relevant policies, the tourism market is expected to continue to recover and enter a fast lane of accelerated growth.

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