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Chinese Numbers: Highlights of China's May Day Holiday Tell Consumption Vitality

By Xinhua|May 07,2024

Customers enjoy malatang at a store in Qinzhou District of Tianshui City, northwest China's Gansu Province, April 4, 2024. (Photo/Ma Xiping, Xinhua)

Beijing - From bustling tourist hotspots to record-breaking movie screenings, consumption across China has been in full swing during the May Day holiday, indicating strong economic vitality.

The following data will provide a glimpse into the country's holiday trends, reflecting an acceleration of the economy's recovery.

Tourism spree

During the May Day holiday, which lasted from May 1 to 5, myriads of people across the country opted to embark on journeys near and far with their friends and family to enjoy their leisure time.

Data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism showed China saw about 295 million domestic tourist trips during the holiday, up 7.6 percent year on year and 28.2 percent from the same period in 2019. Domestic tourist expenditure during the period totaled 166.89 billion yuan (about 23.51 billion U.S. dollars), up 13.5 percent from the same period in 2019.

Some domestic hotspots, like Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, witnessed an influx of visitors during the vacation period. Beijing, for instance, welcomed about 16.97 million tourists and achieved a tourism revenue of 19.62 billion yuan during the holiday, both reaching historical highs for the same period.

Emerging trends are also shaping, as exploring authentic local culture in lower-tier markets made waves in China. According to Trip.com, hotel bookings in county-level markets have spiked by 68 percent year on year during the holiday, outpacing the national average growth rate. Data also showed a rise of 42 percent in countryside trips compared to the same period last year.

Propelled by the expanded visa exemption policies and increased international flight capacity, China's outbound travel saw a strong recovery during the holiday.

China handled nearly 8.47 million entry and exit trips during the holiday, representing a 35.1-percent increase from the same period last year, data from the National Immigration Administration showed.

According to data from Fliggy, one of China's leading travel platforms, outbound travel experienced a peak in bookings during the May Day holiday, with bookings for travel services seeing strong growth of nearly 100 percent on the basis of a rapid rebound last year.

Service-related consumption boom

Consumption in the services sector staged a major rebound in the just concluded vacation, with streets packed with people a common sight across the country.

During the holiday, sales reported by major dining and retail companies increased 6.8 percent year on year, data from the Ministry of Commerce indicated.

According to a report released by investment bank China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC), from May 1 to 4, the average daily foot traffic across 3,800 plus commercial districts nationwide increased by 23 percent, a testament to the vibrant consumer sentiment during the holiday period.

Data from Meituan, a leading e-commerce platform, showed that during the first three days of the holiday, dine-in orders nationwide increased by over 73 percent compared with the same period last year.

The holiday also sparked a noteworthy growth in nighttime economy. Meituan's data revealed that during the first three days of the holiday, spending on entertainment activities in nighttime surged 60 percent year on year.

Surging traffic

Strong signals of recovery are also seen in China's transport sector. The country saw approximately 1.36 billion inter-regional passenger traffic during the May Day holiday, 2.1 percent higher than that of last year, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Among them, 9.97 million passengers traveled by air, with the daily average of passengers increasing by 8.1 percent over the same period in 2023.

The country's railway network handled 91.77 million passenger trips during the holiday, with the daily average of passengers expanding 1.4 percent year on year to 18.35 million.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said the country handled 85,986 flights from May 1 to 5, with the daily average flights surging 7.4 percent from 2019.

Robust box office performance

China's box office grossed over 1.52 billion yuan during the five-day holiday ending Sunday, marking the third highest-grossing May Day holiday in history.

According to film data platform Beacon, the holiday witnessed 2.4 million screenings, hitting an all-time high.

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