Justin N. Froyd - May 9, 2022
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The Labor Day holiday, from April 30 to May 4, is traditionally one of the busiest seasons in China, with millions of tourists looking to enjoy spring turning into summer. However, this year it was affected by the efforts to deal with the country’s largest Covid-19 outbreak since the virus first emerged in 2019 and the Chinese travelers’ expenditure went down.

In this context, many cities across China have imposed full or partial shutdowns to combat the spread of the virus, including Shanghai, one of the most popular destinations.

Fewer Trips, Lower Expenditure

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that 160 million trips were made during the holidays, which marks a 30.2 % drop from the 230 million domestic trips last year.

At the same time, Chinese travelers’ expenditure fell from 113 billion yuan to 64.68 billion ($9.7 billion). This represents a massive decrease of 42.9 % compared to 2021.

The ministry attributed the decline to Covid-19 prevention and control policies affecting residents all over the country.

It was also noted that tourist traffic was weak in popular domestic destinations, including the island of Hainan and Jiuzhaigou National Park, which saw a sharp drop in the number of visitors.

For example, the hotel occupancy rate in Sanya, a destination on Hainan Island popular for duty-free shopping, was just 20.6 % during the holiday.

Beijing on a Similar Wave

It is clear that the current situation is affecting the entire country, including the capital Beijing.

As per official data, slightly more than 3 million trips were made during the holiday in Beijing. A sharp decrease compared to 2021 (7.68 million). At the same time, the expenditure of Chinese travelers equaled just 1.58 billion yuan ($239 million).

However, this is not much of a surprise, considering the restrictions introduced by the city in the past couple of weeks – group tours were cancelled, museums and other indoor attractions closed, while the permissible capacity at open-air attractions was reduced to just 50 %.

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