Crew members celebrate the start of full operations on the high-speed railway linking Yinchuan, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to Lanzhou, northwest China’s Gansu Province. China), on Dec. 29, 2022. With a planned speed of 250 kilometers per hour, the new line will cut travel time between the two cities by more than five hours. Photo: cnsphoto
In the first holiday season after China adjusted its coronavirus management measures, the country ushered in an explosion in tourism demand in different regions, as the Chinese people unleash their pent-up demands for travel in what the experts said to be a good start for the economic rebound in 2023.
In several tourist destinations in China, the number of tourists has rebounded sharply on a yearly basis. On the first day of 2023, more than 10,000 tourists climbed Huangshan Mountain in east China’s Anhui Province, up nearly 58 percent from the first day of 2022. Many tourists posed in front of the mountain’s famous “Greeting Pine” to celebrate the first twilight. of the new year.
Such scenes are everywhere in China during the three-day New Year holiday. In Beijing’s famous Forbidden City tourist spot, travel bookings had reached the upper limit of 30,000 people on Sunday, the second day of the holiday, according to a CCTV report.
In Shanghai, the familiar scene of families weaving their way through crowds on Nanjing Road and near the Bund area to celebrate the New Year is back. On New Year’s Eve, the total passenger flow from the Bund’s waterfront area was 308,000, with an instant peak of 64,000, nearly double that of Dec. 31, 2021, and accounting for about 70% of New Year’s Eve. Year in 2019, a report by the portal kankanews.com noted.
In the eyes of practitioners and industry experts, such scenarios are not surprising, as they reflect the resilience and flexibility of the Chinese economy, especially the consumer sector.
“China’s offline consumption bottleneck caused by repeated coronavirus strikes over the past three years is running, and there is a good chance that China’s consumer sector will usher in a full recovery inflection point in the near future,” said Chen Jia, an independent. international strategy researcher, told the Global Times on Monday.
Data provided by several tourism platforms to the Global Times showed that China’s tourism rebound during the New Year holiday is very strong, if not fully fledged, sending a clear signal that the domestic tourism sector is recovering in a better that- way expected.
According to a report sent by ly.com to the Global Times, hotel bookings during the recent New Year holidays jumped 32% from the 2020 level. In particular, hotel bookings in a number of destinations such as Luoyang in central China’s Henan Province and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province (southwest China) have grown more than 10 times a year after these regions rid themselves of the influence of coronavirus epidemics .
Meanwhile, flight ticket bookings also increased by 2% during the New Year holidays compared to the holiday season in 2020, ly.com’s report noted.
Many cities that have recently suffered relatively severe coronavirus hits have quickly recovered in terms of travel sentiment. According to data compiled by mafengwo.cn, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai are among the top five most travel-enthusiastic cities.
Data from a report sent by qunar.com to the Global Times also showed travel bookings from Guangzhou and Shanghai during the New Year holidays exceeded the corresponding period of the previous year.
According to information disclosed by China Railway, people made more than 4.74 million trips through the railway system on Sunday. During the 2022 New Year holidays, a total of 21.7 million trips were made by the railway.
The rebound in tourism demand came after China rolled out 10 new measures to help deal with the coronavirus, including lifting COVID testing and health code requirements for interregional domestic travellers. The country has also dropped cross-border travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
Xu Xiaolei, marketing manager of CYTS Tours in China, told the Global Times on Monday that the recovery in tourism after China adjusted COVID measures has been “relatively evident”, especially in terms of medium or short distance travel.
He revealed that hotel reservations for Beijing WTown, a tourist spot in Beijing’s Miyun district, were nearly full during the New Year holiday, except for some suites.
“It’s not common in the last three years of the coronavirus period,” he said.
This recovery trend also made Xu more confident of a more obvious rebound in tourism during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, such as tourist spots in southern and eastern regions of China such as Hainan and the ice travel in the northern regions of China.
But he is still a bit reserved on the resumption of cross-border travel, as this sector needs to roll out more favorable policies and a further recovery in consumer confidence, but Chinese tourists could start to gradually appear in destinations. Southeast Asia, as well as Hong Kong and Macau over the next vacation, he said.
Experts also noted that the recent rebound in tourism is a good start for the Chinese economy this year, as it signals the strong growth momentum of China’s consumer sector, which is expected to become one of the main drivers of economic growth. economic performance this year.
Tian Yun, a veteran economist and former vice director of the Beijing Economic Operations Association, told the Global Times on Monday that the recent consumer recovery has come “much earlier” than market expectations.
“The market used to think that China needed about a full quarter to adjust its economy, but now the situation looks far beyond what people expected,” he said.
This in turn proves the fact that China’s consumption potentials are only limited by the external environment, instead of being fundamentally affected in recent years, he said.
On the other hand, while other pillars of economic growth are burdened by uncertain factors such as US monetary policies and local government debt pressure, consumption is seen as the main driver of economic growth in This year.
“The strength of China’s consumption rebound decides how high China’s economic performance will be this year. It [the consumption sector] is going to be the No. 1 force driving the economy up this year, probably accounting for more than 70% of total GDP,” Tian said.
In a broader sense, experts also pointed out that China’s consumer sector will play a pivotal role in reviving the global economy, as at a time when many other countries are showing bleak economic prospects, the recovery of the Chinese demand will make all the difference for overseas. also the consumer sector.
“Whether in terms of building trust, enhancing connectivity between global industrial chains and the consumer market, or stabilizing the global economy, the importance of China’s consumer sector to the ‘global economy is unrivaled,’ Chen said.
He cited the example of the tourism market, saying China’s optimization of cross-border travel policies could help the global tourism industry return to pre-COVID levels in 2023.
Tian also noted that if China’s consumer sector could grow by 5 or 6 percent in the first quarter of 2023, it could make the world more confident about China’s economic performance for the year as a whole. , which in turn will affect the direction of global capital flows to a relatively large volume. Degree.