China's tourism market this summer is expected to surpass the same period in 2019, with 1.3 billion domestic trips being made in the July-August period, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Wednesday.
Citing a forecast by the China Tourism Academy, the ministry said that the number of domestic trips during the two-month period is expected to account for about 20.2 percent of the annual total.
From July 1 to August 21, the national railway had carried 701 million passengers. On August 19 alone, it carried 15.69 million passengers, a one-day record for the summer travel peak. The average daily number of passenger trains reached 10,444, up 15.8 percent over the same period in 2019, the ministry said on its official WeChat account.
According to online travel agencies including Ctrip, Qunar and Lvmama, parent-child tours and night tours are the hot spots in this summer's tourism market.
Qunar said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday that after the three-year epidemic, the demand for "walking children" had become a new driver of tourism consumption. Tour groups of people under 18 years old and those aged between 34 and 43 accounted for the highest proportion of the total.
The number of bookings for summer parent-child related scenic spots has increased seven times compared with 2019, said Qunar. The popular scenic spots for this type of tours include Shanghai Disneyland, Beijing Universal Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland and the China Science and Technology Museum.
According to data Lvmama sent to the Global Times, study tour bookings have exceeded the same period in 2019. Some destinations rich in human and historical landscapes like Beijing, Xi'an, Nanjing, Luoyang and Dunhuang have gained continuous popularity, with tickets for museums, grottoes and temples in high demand.
"This year's summer vacation tourism fever comes from the compensation effect after the epidemic, which could be reflected in the surge of family tourism. It is also closely related to efforts and policies by provinces like Shaanxi and Henan to promote tourism, including the marketing of tourist destinations and convenient travel arrangements," Xu Xiaolei, marketing manager from China's CYTS Tours Holding Co, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Moreover, total earnings from the 2023 summer movie season, running from the beginning of June to the end of August, hit a record high of more than 19.60 billion yuan ($2.69 billion) as of press time. Industry observers said that demand was driven by a post-COVID cultural consumption surge as well as the availability of several quality films of diversified genres.
In the first half of 2023, the contribution of the services industry to economic growth has increased. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the added value of the services sector amounted to 33.2 trillion yuan, up 6.4 percent year-on-year. The added value of the services sector accounted for 56 percent of GDP, 1.6 percentage points higher than a year earlier.
Xu noted that tourism spending, as a form of services-oriented consumption, has a more obvious role in driving economic development, and it will push the services sector to contribute about 60 percent of the country's GDP this year.