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China sees tourism surge during National Day holiday


10-09-2016 12:37 BJT

Full coverage: 67th Chinese National Day

This year's Chinese National Day holiday is now over, and it was yet another 'Golden Week', with half of China's population treating themselves in one way or another.

Tourists carrying umbrellas visit the Tian

Tourists carrying umbrellas visit the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 4, 2016, the fourth day of China's National Day holiday. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

A new record high this Golden Week. Chinese spending on shopping and food hit 180 billion US dollars. A huge boost to the Chinese economy.

Consumption during China’s Golden Week has contributed a lot to the economy, ever since 1999. None of this is possible without travel.

Over the holiday, nearly 600 million Chinese visited popular tourist attractions in China, and spent about 480 billion yuan -- or $72 billion -- well up on the figures from last year.

This kind of spending can have a significant economic impact.

"With respect to annual national tourism income, golden week consumption can make up to 10 to 15 percent. And the retail income during the holiday can take up about 5 percent of the whole year," Li Zhongguang, associate researcher with China Tourism Academy, said.

Leisure holidays are also becoming popular not just the traditional attractions.
Chinese tourists are now putting much more thought into where they want to go and what they want to do.

"Their preparation for this holiday started earlier than usual, and they have more specific aims and want richer experiences, especially in outbound trips," Queenie Li, PR manager with Utour International, said.

Offical monitoring data shows there was much more order around the country this year, despite the marked increase in tourist activity. But the authorities are under a lot of pressure to maintain this.

"The number of travellers in the first three days of the holiday exceeded 100 million. We never saw that before, and that brought a lot of pressure. In the long-term, this consumption increase should be mitigated by flexible holidays, not the current golden weeks," Li said.

The Golden Week has for the past 17 years been a great engine of the Chinese economy, but with more and more people now having the capacity to travel and enjoy the week, authorities need to sit down and review the best way forward.

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