(Yicai Global) May 8 -- A record number of people traveled across China during the recent five-day Labor Day break, and not only are they spending more than before but they are also venturing further afield now that the country’s zero-Covid policy has been lifted.
Some 274 million people went on holiday in China during the May Day long weekend, an all-time high, breaking the previous record of 230 million tourists during the same period in 2021, according to data released by 24 provinces as of yesterday.
Central Henan province was the most popular destination, welcoming 55.1 million tourists over the five days from April 29 to May 3. Southern Guangdong province and southwestern Sichuan province were not far behind with more than 40 million visitors each.
Southeastern Zhejiang province raked in the most revenue from tourism over the holiday at CNY37 billion (USD5.4 billion), while Beijing had the highest per capita consumption at CNY1,474.40 (USD213) per visitor.
Spending per person jumped in nine out of 18 provinces from the same period in 2019, according to data released by local tourism authorities. Northeastern Heilongjiang province saw a 48 percent leap and southwestern Yunnan province a 30 percent.
The average tourist travelled 180.8 kilometers over the break, 81.5 percent further than a year earlier, said Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy. And 83.4 percent of them covered more than 100 kilometers, a gain of 9.7 percentage points year on year.
A quarter of holidaymakers journeyed to a different province, an increase of 15.5 percentage points over the same period last year, Dai said.
But long-distance travel is mainly to the big cities and tourist hot spots, Chen Qiankang, professor at Sichuan Normal University, told Yicai Global. Cheap short trips to the countryside or urban green spaces are still very popular, as the pandemic has had an impact on people’s incomes and the transportation is more expensive during the holiday.
And those provinces that logged the biggest increase in tourists received in general between 20 million and 30 million visitors. Comparing to 2019, people traveling to Yunnan province more than tripled to over 30 million people, and those to southwestern Guangxi province more than doubled to around 20 million.
Eastern Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces also saw a big surge in visitors, logging around 30 million visitors, as did southeastern Fujian province and western Gansu province, which reported more than 20 million.
Editors: Shi Yi, Kim Taylor