Beijing, 9 February 2024 (TDI): As the Lunar New Year approaches, tourist destinations and tourism businesses in China are gearing up for a surge of holiday-makers by launching preferential policies and enhancing their services.
To welcome the Spring Festival holiday, which is usually a peak season for tourism revenue, scenic spots in more than a dozen provincial-level regions have offered ticket discounts or even free entry to lure tourists. This Spring Festival holiday will last from February 10 to 17 this year.
These regions range from the ice-and-snow tourist hotspot Heilongjiang to the sunny island of Hainan, and from coastal Fujian to the vast, inland region of Xinjiang.
For example, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, several policies, such as “buy one get one free” for admission to state-owned tourist attractions rated 4A and above, have been in place until the end of March in Aba, Ganzi and Liangshan – all autonomous prefectures for ethnic minorities – as well as the city of Panzhihua.
State-owned scenic spots rated below 4A, the second-highest rating in China’s five-level assessment system for scenic areas, also provide free entry in these areas.
Cultural Facilities and World Heritage Sites Open for Free
In east China’s Jiangsu, culture and tourism authorities have rolled out a series of initiatives for the eight-day holiday that are meant to benefit both locals and tourists. They include normal operations of museums, galleries, libraries and other public cultural facilities, as well as free-of-charge policies in prominent tourist attractions such as the Humble Administrator’s Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Joint efforts to design tourist incentives for the Spring Festival holiday are expected to create synergy and boost the tourism economy within each locality while fostering coordinated development across the regions, said Wang Peng, a deputy researcher with the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences.
Travel Market Expected to Recover to Pre-pandemic Levels
With a longer-than-usual Chinese New Year holiday, it is anticipated that the potential of China’s travel market will be further unleashed.
For the upcoming holiday period, data from Ctrip, an online travel platform, shows that bookings for domestic trips have seen a year-on-year growth of over seven times, while outbound and inbound travel orders both have experienced an increase of more than 10 times.
According to the National Immigration Administration, it is estimated that the Chinese mainland will see a daily average of 1.8 million inbound and outbound passenger trips during the Spring Festival holiday, marking an increase of approximately 3.3 times compared to last year and a return to the pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Tourism Industry Adapts to Changing Demands of Chinese Travelers
Businesses in China’s tourism industry are intensifying efforts to meet the evolving demands of Chinese travelers. Industry observers point to a dual trend in both domestic and international trips this year a surge in ice-and-snow activities and a growing interest in wellness retreats.
“Tailored for Spring Festival family getaways, we’ve introduced sought-after packages of destinations like France, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, and Kenya,” said Han Jie, CEO of Chinese online travel agency Aoyou.
“In anticipation of the impending travel peak, our company has made early preparations by securing aviation resources and overseas hotel accommodations. This ensures a seamless travel experience for our customers,” Han added.