(Yicai Global) Oct. 9 -- The National Day holiday in China, known as 'Golden Week', typically runs from Oct. 1 to 8.
This year, however, people got one more day off as the holiday happened to overlap with the Mid-Autumn Festival (Oct. 4). Some 710 million Chinese people traveled for leisure during the holiday, generating about USD89.4 billion (CNY590 billion) in revenue for the national tourism sector, the National Tourism Administration (NTA) estimates.
A structural shift has been underway away from traditional tourist spots, which only account for some 20 percent of total revenue. The number of tourists staying in hotels has declined. About 54 percent of respondents surveyed by the NTA said that they preferred independent travel to organized tours for Golden Week, and natural scenic spots, historical sites and theme parks are the most popular destinations for do-it-yourself (DIY) tourists, Jiemian News reported yesterday.
Market demand varies among different segments of the tourist market. Homestay bookings soared 126 percent, while the number of outbound tourists rose 32 percent during this year's National Day holiday. DIY and 'semi DIY' travelers accounted for most tourists, shows booking data from Fliggy.com, a Chinese one-stop travel service platform. In the domestic market, cities with large theme parks, grasslands and ecotourism attractions were the most popular tourist destinations last week.
China's largest Chinese online travel agency Ctrip.com says more than six million Chinese tourists traveled abroad in Golden Week this year, with most independent travelers, with those born in the 1980s and 19990s overtaking their elder generations as the most important demographics of the Chinese tourism market. A transition from cash payment toward online and offline payment services such as credit cards, and online payment via the WeChat online payment arm of Tencent Holdings Ltd. [HK:0700] and the Alipay of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA] among Chinese consumers has prompted many countries to develop flexible payment platforms.