Travel orders up 102%, admission ticket booking up 300% at travel platform on first day of Spring Festival holidays

China’s consumption at the Spring Festival holidays has shown signs of firing, with palpable uptick in movie ticket sales, unparallel travel surge, and festive purchase on Saturday, the first day of the eight-day Spring Festival holidays.

It is expected that this year’s holidays will see greater consumption momentum, which observers predicted could be on a firm trajectory to hit over the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

The hustle and bustle at the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, which epitomizes the country’s vibrant economic fundamentals, signals that the world’s second-largest economy is opening in an upbeat note in the Chinese Lunar New Year, analysts said. They also stressed that the bullish start will also provide solid foundation for a sustained economic recovery throughout the year.

On Saturday, admission ticket booking orders via trip.com jumped by over 300 percent year-on-year, while travel orders and airport pick-up orders also rose 102 percent and 75 percent, respectively, which mirrors soaring travel consumption during the holidays as localities organize abundant activities including lantern show, flower fair, temple fair as well as dragon and lion dances, data released by online travel agency showed. Those three indexes are all landed “significantly higher” than that of 2019.

Meanwhile, inbound and outbound travel orders on Saturday also recorded a new high in recent years, and both achieved expansion from the readings in 2019. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which all offer mutual visa exemption to Chinese tourists, are among the hottest overseas destinations, the data showed.

In particular, travel searches for four sub-venues of the Spring Festival gala, including Xinjiang’s Kashi, has jumped over 50 percent on Saturday, compared with Friday.

It is expected that 5.5 million passenger trips will be made nationwide on Saturday, and an additional 176 passengers trains were arranged for operation that day, according to data released by China Railway. That compared with 2.77 million rail passenger trips made on the first day of Year of the Rabbit which falls on January 22, 2023.

On Friday, the Lunar New Year’s Eve, a total of 8.26 million passenger trips have been made via railway.

During the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush that started on January 26, the national railway system is expected to complete 480 million passenger trips, increasing by 37.9 percent compared with “Chunyun” in 2023, according to China Railway. The country is expected to see a total of 9 billion passenger trips during the ongoing travel rush, likely hitting a new high, according to a Ministry of Transport forecast.

It is expected that the travel rush and family reunion during the Spring Festival will further drive up the consumer market across China, especially festival gift boxes, products involving long-distance travel and winter outdoor activities, observers said.

China’s Ministry of Cultural and Tourism will distribute consumption coupons worth over 600 million yuan ($83.4 million) during the holidays, to further help release potential consumption power.

In addition to the ongoing spending spree, the holiday box office sales are also showing promising start amid the joyful festive mood.

As of 7:17 pm Saturday, the box office for new films during this year’s Spring Festival holidays – one of the most important periods of the year – have surpassed 1.5 billion yuan ($208.52 million), data from Chinese online ticketing platform Beacon showed. Pegasus 2, YOLO, and Time Twist are the top three most popular blockbusters.

In 2023, the box office revenue during the Spring Festival holidays was 6.76 billion yuan.

Analysts noted that the consumption boom during the Spring Festival holidays would inject new impetus into China’s overall economic recovery this year. Also, a number of cities have rolled out multiple measures focusing on shoring up other aspects of the economy, and the policy boon will also be conducive to stabilizing growth and achieving high-quality development this year.

Economists have widely expected that Chinese economy will expand at a rate above 5 percent in 2024, the Global Times learned.

(Global Times)

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