Tourists visit the Huangguoshu waterfall in Anshun city, Southwest China’s Guizhou province, Oct 2, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING — With millions of Chinese visiting tourist sites and shops at home and abroad during the October “Golden Week”, their consumption power shows that tourism is one sector that China, as well as the world, could look to for more economic benefits.
In the first two days of the National Day holiday which runs from Oct 1 to 8, China has reported double-digit growth in tourism revenue.
Some 114 million tourists spent 94 billion yuan (about $14 billion) on Oct 2 alone, up 9.9 percent and 10.9 percent respectively from the same day last year, according to data from the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).
The previous day tourism income of 96.5 billion yuan was posted by 113 million domestic tourists, up 12.2 percent and 10.5 percent year on year, respectively.
Most Chinese have chosen to indulge in food, cultural and rural tourism this year. Theme parks, museums and traditional culture streets have also seen an obvious growth in the number of visitors, according to the CNTA.
One of China’s two “Golden Weeks”, the National Day holiday sees a surge in passenger flows, tourist revenue and retail sales. This year it has been extended by one day as the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Oct 4.
Travel demand appears to be stronger this year, possibly because the Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for family reunion.
China Railway Corporation said that more than 15 million passenger trips were made on Oct 1, the first day of the eight-day holiday, a record high compared to 14.4 million trips made on the same day last year.
Around 710 million trips are expected be made from Oct 1 to 8, with national tourism revenue set to reach 590 billion yuan, up 10 percent and 12.2 percent respectively on the same period last year, according to predictions by the CNTA.
Popular domestic destinations include Beijing, Sanya, Kunming and Lanzhou, according to a survey by Ctrip, China’s leading online travel agency.
At a time when traditional growth drivers are losing steam, China has pinned hopes on services, including tourism, for new impetus to drive consumption and employment, support economic growth and restructuring.
China’s domestic tourism industry earned about 3.9 trillion yuan in 2016, and the country plans to raise tourism revenue to 7 trillion yuan by 2020.
The nation will work to develop tourism into a major driver of economic transformation. By 2020, investment in tourism is expected to grow to 2 trillion yuan, and the sector will contribute more than 12 percent of GDP growth, according to a State Council five-year tourism plan (2016-2020).
The economic impacts of China’s mobile population are being felt worldwide as more Chinese have opted to travel overseas this year.
Of those surveyed by Ctrip, 16.4 percent said they would travel overseas during the National Day holiday.
CNTA data showed 62 million overseas trips were made by Chinese tourists in the first half of 2017.
According to the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steve Ciobo, Chinese tourists accounted for almost a quarter of all spending in Australia by overseas visitors in 2016 and 2017.
Chinese tourists continue to have the biggest impact on Australian economy with 1.2 million visitors spending 9.8 billion Australian dollars during that time, both are increases of 10 percent, said Ciobo.
With the younger generation showing more interest in the outside world, the international travel trend is expected to continue.
According to United Nations World Tourism Organization, the number of global travelers will exceed 1.8 billion by 2030. China is considered the world’s fastest growing tourism market and will play a key role in the sector’s development.