China's consumption has been firing on all cylinders during the just-ended May Day holidays, ranging from tourism, box office, transportation, entertainment to catering sectors. This year's five-day holidays are believed to have beaten the 2019 pre-epidemic level in terms of both trips made and revenue generated to become what industry insiders celebratedas the "most prosperous," giving a huge boost to GDP.
From the barbecue craze in Zibo, an industrial city in East China's Shandong Province, the camel-riding "traffic jam" in a desert spot in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu Province to the lengthy queues at the doorstep of naughty, fluffy giant panda Meng Lan at Beijing Zoo, tourist destinations across the country were flooded with millions of Chinese visitors, who set their sights on the May Day holidays - the first long break after the seven-day Spring Festival holidays - to release pent-up travel desire.
The tourist boom offers an unmistakably sign that the world's second-largest economy has been steadily moving out of the epidemic haze after three tedious years, analysts said. More importantly, it shed light on the strength and sustainability of China's consumption rebounding momentum, which analysts predict could wow global investors with double-digit growth in the second quarter of the year and serve as a major pillar underpinning a whole-year economic recovery of above 5 percent.
A total of 274 million trips were made during the May Day holidays this year, up 70.83 percent year-on-year, equivalent to 119.09 percent of 2019's on a like-for-like basis, according to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism late on Wednesday. Domestic tourism income soared 128.9 percent year-on-year to 148.1 billion yuan ($21.43 billion), slightly higher than in 2019 on a comparable basis at 100.66% of 2019.
The national railway network is set to transport 19.35 million passengers on Wednesday, the last day of the five-day holidays that started on April 29, according to China Railway. It represents roughly a 400 percent increase from that of 2022 based on the Global Times' calculations.
According to a report that online travel agency Qunar sent to the Global Times on Wednesday, the number of people who simultaneously purchased online rail ticket set a record high, and tickets for popular rail routes during the holidays sold out within minutes, "at a speed even faster than during the Spring Festival travel rush."
Data from industry information provider VariFlight showed that the number of domestic passenger flights reached 13,926 on Wednesday, about 4.4 times that of last year.