Tourists experience camel trekking in Dunhuang, Gansu province, in June. (ZHANG XIAOLIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Themed trips, seaside getaways in favor among both young and older tourists
Soaring summer temperatures are fueling Chinese consumers' enthusiasm for travel, and the scorching travel market this summer is expected to comprehensively surpass levels seen in 2019 before the COVID-19 outbreak, industry experts forecast.
The fervent travel market witnessed during the May Day holiday and Dragon Boat Festival indicated a strong recovery dynamic of the sector following effective control of the pandemic. Industry players have great expectations for the tourism market this summer in terms of the number of travelers and their expenditures, said Trip.com Group, the country's leading online travel agency.
As of June 14, Trip.com saw the booking volume of products related to parent-child trips jump more than sevenfold year-on-year. Such bookings accounted for more than 30 percent of total bookings, and the volume had already exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
In addition, bookings for domestic cross-provincial long-haul tours have been booming. Top destinations include Beijing; Shanghai; Xi'an, Shaanxi province; Chengdu, Sichuan province; and Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Trip.com said.
"Despite some destinations having raised the prices for their travel products, it hasn't impacted consumers' willingness to set out this summer, and the trend has led to a significant increase in booking volumes of domestic flights," said Xie Xiaoqing, a senior researcher at Trip.com's research institute.
This year, the amount of money that Chinese consumers spend on domestic travel is expected to surge 169 percent over last year, and reach 96 percent of pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019. Chinese consumers' expenditures for outbound travel are likely to jump 100 percent year-on-year, recording 40 percent of 2019 levels, said a research report by BOCOM International Holdings.
The nation's theme parks have also witnessed a surge in visitors and revenue. Popular parks include Shanghai Disney Resort, Universal Beijing Resort, Zhuhai Chimelong International Ocean Resort in Guangdong province and the Atlantis Sanya resort water park in Hainan province, according to online travel agency Tuniu Corp.
Shanghai Disney Resort said that since June 23, it began to raise its admission ticket prices in response to rising costs such as new product development. The price of a regular-day admission ticket has increased from 435 yuan ($60) to 475 yuan, and the price of a peak-day ticket has risen from 769 yuan to 799 yuan.
Prices for domestic flights are also on the rise. As of June 14, the one-way domestic flight carried an average price tag of 1,227 yuan including taxes, jumping 37.4 percent year-on-year. The average price edged up 15.7 percent over levels seen during the May Day holiday, said Trip.com.
"Given the growing trend of domestic air transportation capacity and flight ticket prices, the increase has basically filled the deficit seen during the pandemic. The popularity of the domestic travel market seen over the May Day holiday is expected to continue its momentum," said Li Yuan, an aviation industry analyst.