Travel bookings surge ahead of May Day holidays

Global Times| Updated:  April 24, 2024 L M S

Multiple Chinese online tourism agencies (OTAs) have recorded a surge in bookings for the five-day May Day holidays, particularly for mid- and long-distance trips. Among international trips, countries with visa-free policies have gained in popularity with Chinese tourists. 

The general tourism booking volume saw a steady increase from the high base level of the same period in 2023, according to data in a report sent from Chinese OTA Trip.com to the Global Times on Tuesday.  

As the May Day holidays are longer than the Qingming Festival holidays, more tourists have planned mid- and long-distance trips. The booking volume for long-distance trips accounted for over half of the total.  

Beijing, Shanghai, Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, Hangzhou in East China’s Zhejiang Province, and Chengdu in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province are the top five most popular travel destinations during the holiday, based on Trip.com’s data.  

In overseas travel sectors, the search volume for international flights on Trip.com surged by 56 percent year-on-year.  

As of now, a total of 24 countries have started comprehensive mutual visa-free arrangements with China, while more than 60 countries and regions have granted visa-free status or visas on arrival to Chinese citizens.

According to data provided by Chinese OTA Mafengwo, aside from traditional hot travel destinations such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, some “niche” countries that also offer visa-free policies are popular with Chinese tourists.  

China and Georgia signed a mutual exemption agreement on April 14, which allows holders of valid ordinary passports from both countries to enter, exit or transit through each other's country without a visa, provided that they stay for no longer than 30 days per visit and no longer than 90 days within a 180-day period.

Benefitting from the policy, Georgia ranked second in the list for niche destinations behind Egypt, according to Mafengwo. 

An official from China’s Ministry of Finance said at a press conference on Monday that the tax income from the cultural and tourism sector saw a significant increase in the first quarter of 2024, with tax income from the hotel and catering sector rising 44.7 percent year-on-year.  

Observers said the development momentum of tourism will further ensure China’s steady economic recovery, and will lay foundations for further growth throughout the year.