Economic Watch: Summer travel boom in China to propel economic momentum-Xinhua

Economic Watch: Summer travel boom in China to propel economic momentum

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-07-04 16:57:45

BEIJING, July 4 (Xinhua) -- China is gearing up for a substantial surge in travel and tourism as the bustling summer vacation season kicks off, with analysts expecting the rapidly warming domestic market to further boost economic recovery.


The travel industry has made extensive preparations for the summer rush as travelers take to both air and rail routes.

China is expecting 860 million railway passenger trips in July and August, averaging 13.87 million daily. This strong travel demand is mainly driven by summer vacationers, tourists and family visitors, according to the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd.

Railway operators plan to increase transportation capacity by deploying 276 additional temporary trains daily, an increase of 128 from the same period last year. Overall, approximately 11,500 trains are scheduled nationwide each day.

According to data from the flight travel app Umetrip, domestic flight bookings from July 1 to August 31 have surpassed 18 million, marking a 23 percent increase from the same period in 2023. Meanwhile, the planned inbound and outbound flights stand at approximately 145,000, with nearly 7 million tickets booked, nearly double that of last year.

Several airlines said that their planned daily domestic flights will exceed pre-pandemic levels of 2019, with international flights expected to match those of 2019. Additional flights have been scheduled for popular tourist destinations, including cities in Xinjiang, Sichuan and Hainan.

Highlighting their readiness for the travel rush, Quan Xiaoyi, vice president of Sanya Phoenix International Airport, said the preparations include deploying volunteers at check-in counters and special service areas, as well as opening green channels for university freshmen to enhance travel efficiency and ensure a smooth experience.


Behind the surging travel rush lies a vibrant "summer vacation economy," driven by tourism demands such as educational and family tours.

According to travel agency Ctrip, nearly 40 percent of its summer travelers chose tourist attractions suitable for children, with famous theme parks in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Zhuhai emerging as top family destinations.

"The popularity of family trips and educational tours underscores the increasing demand for enriching family interactions and educational experiences," said Xiao Peng, a researcher at online travel agency "Such trips also foster the transformation of the tourism industry toward diversification and personalized experiences."

Chinese authorities have already implemented measures to help tourism businesses cater to the evolving consumer demands.

Nearly 37,000 cultural tourism consumption events will be launched across the country in the summer, according to Fu Hanxiao, an official of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. These events cover over 4,000 consumption categories and include attractive measures such as coupons, discounts and affordable package deals.

From the Spring Festival to May Day and the Dragon Boat Festival, this year's holidays have seen a rapid recovery in cultural and tourism consumption vitality, demonstrating the immense potential of China's vast market of over 1.4 billion people.

Analysts believe that industries such as tourism, education and entertainment will thrive in the coming years due to increasing demand for quality and personalized options during the summer season, serving as a new catalyst for economic momentum.


The summer travel enthusiasm among tourists has also led to a surge in outbound travel bookings. According to travel platform, outbound travelers now account for 39 percent of the total. Ctrip reports that visa applications have doubled since the second quarter compared to the same period in 2023.

Among the travelers heading abroad are Liu Yang, 37, along with her husband and child. They will depart for London this weekend for a nine-day self-guided tour. "I traveled less in recent years due to the pandemic, so I'm looking forward to having a good time," she said.

There has been a noticeable trend in China, with more families and individuals increasingly venturing abroad for leisure, taking advantage of the relaxed international travel restrictions.

In the latest move towards opening up, China has implemented visa-free policies for travelers from several countries recently, and more overseas destinations are expressing a warm welcome to Chinese tourists.

According to a report by travel agency Tongcheng Travel, European destinations have notably increased in popularity, driven particularly by the European Cup and the Paris Olympic Games.

"We have a significant increase in inquiries for chartered tours to France and neighboring countries. Routes like 'France-Italy-Switzerland' and 'Netherlands-Belgium-Luxembourg-France' are particularly popular," said Li Jiang, who provides chartered tour services in Europe.

As China continues to facilitate cross-border travel, the increasing number of Chinese tourists abroad will contribute to the recovery of the global tourism sector and enhance international people-to-people exchanges, according to analysts.