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How May Day celebrations 'boosted' China's consumer, tourism industry

By Ame Ena*  

In China, May Day is an important occasion to celebrate what are considered by the country's authorities as accomplishments and efforts of the working class. The May Day vacation, which is being observed every year from May 1 to May 5, is sought to be projected as an exceptional economic success of the country. 
The vacation sees people seeking to get involved in high-quality consumption of goods produced by variety of industries, tourism, and participate in cultural events. This May Day holidays are unique in that there is a surge in both inbound and outgoing travel, which boosts the steady stream of consumption.
The economic significance of the May Day holiday may be appreciated if we closely examine the Ministry of Transport's data that an average of 280 million journeys were made using private and public transportation on the first day, surpassing levels in 2023 and pre-COVID 2019. The estimated cross-regional trips via highways, waterways, and airways exceeded 257 million, 900,000, and 2.11 million, respectively, while the railway passenger traffic volume reached 20.4 million trips. It exceeds the 270 million travels that were anticipated throughout the five-day holiday.
This segment of the nation's tourism and transportation industry were found to be doing brisk business this May Day vacation due to an increase in the number of travelers using this mode of transportation. Take a look at how the desire for luxury travel caused the Chinese railway industry to soar: According to national railway operator China State Railway Group (CSRG), on the first day of the vacation, China's railway network handled 20.69 million passenger trips, a record single-day high.
China is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend as high-end customers search for travel alternatives among its many picturesque locations and beyond. It will do Chinese third- and fourth-tier cities, such as Tianshui, Lishui, and Jinhua, saw a 40% year-over-year increase in travel bookings; county-level regions saw a 64% surge in hotel reservations and a 200 percent spike in ticket bookings. The holidays contributed to the growing desire of Chinese people to travel. 
There was surge in domestic tourism, with Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Chengdu being among the most popular locations. Dispersed among many well-known tourist destinations, the majority of these vacation spots mostly serve affluent clientele. The increase in tourism led to a rise in demand for a number of goods and services, such as retail and hospitality, which has opened up economic prospects. 
Outbound tourism also picked up.For example, during the five-day vacation, the airports expectedly processed over 5,800 aircraft and handled over 918,000 passenger journeys, representing a year-over-year growth of almost 21 percent. On May 5, approximately 207,000 passenger trips returned to the airports. Seoul and Tokyo are two popular locations for outbound tourism. 
On May Day alone, China had a record-breaking 20% rise in foreign ticket purchases when compared to 2019. More than three times as many reservations were made for Middle Eastern travel destinations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as for European travel destinations including the UK, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, and Croatia. 
The Chinese authorities insist, this demonstrates China's openness and acceptability to the outside world. They believe, China's burgeoning tourist and transportation industry -- which includes highways, trains, and airplanes -- showcase the country's dedication to progress and innovation and its capacity to adapt to the needs of a changing population. People's lively movement is a testament to China's ongoing social and economic growth. 
*Freelance writer and columnist, with Honors and Masters degrees in International Affairs



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