Holidaymakers choosing short trips over long-haul journeys

2024-06-11 17:18:05China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

This year's three-day Dragon Boat holiday overlapped with the period of the National College Entrance Examination. As a result, the number of people who took trips and prices of travel products have not increased significantly, industry players found.

The National College Entrance Examination begins on June 7 nationwide annually and the time of its conclusion varies on the arrangements of different provinces. Besides, students of secondary and primary schools have been busy preparing for their final exams.

For this year's holiday, the number of travelers comprising children and their parents declined year-on-year. In 2023, the holiday lasted from June 22 to 24 and demand of graduation trips and family tours was higher as summer was approaching, according to Tuniu Corp, a Nanjing, Jiangsu province-based online travel agency.

Taking short-distance trips to nearby regions has become the main trend this year. Cities located within a two-hour high-speed train journey remain the most popular destinations for urban travelers. For instance, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang in Hebei province and Jinan in Shandong province are popular destinations for travelers from Beijing, according to Qunar, an online travel agency based in the capital.

"Taking trips to small cities remains popular for this year's Dragon Boat Festival. Taking a major city as the center and going to smaller towns in the surrounding areas has become a popular method of travel for many people," said Xiao Peng, a researcher with the big data research institute of Qunar.

Meanwhile, since China's air travel market entered its summer and autumn flying season, which started on March 31 and will conclude on Oct 26, major airlines have accelerated the pace of recovery and launched more domestic and international flights.

For flight tickets during the Dragon Boat holiday, some routes carry cheaper price tags compared with high-speed trains, even with fuel costs and airport construction fees from departing passengers included, Qunar said.

Following a strong tourism surge during the May Day holiday, it is expected that the market will continue to show resilience, supported by robust leisure and business travel demand, said a research report by Guotai Junan Securities.

Lately, China's new hit TV show To the Wonder has made Altay in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region a popular travel destination. It has significantly driven the bookings of local hotels, bed-and-breakfast stays and flights to the prefecture.

Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines said from mid-May to mid-June, the booking volumes of flights from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang to Altay, which is located nearly 500 kilometers away, jumped more than 50 percent month-on-month.

"With rising temperatures, the tourism market in Xinjiang is warming up and the passenger flow of flights from other places to Xinjiang is expected to embrace a new wave of peaks," said Zheng Wei, manager of the Altay business office of the Xinjiang branch at China Southern Airlines.

While consumers have indicated robust travel demand, they have been paying attention to the quality and experience of traveling. Particularly, young tourists have been pursuing personalized and high-quality travel experiences, said Group, China's largest online travel agency.

For this year's Dragon Boat Festival, some people chose to take a few days off from work on either side to create a longer holiday and travel abroad.

For international travel, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have become popular destinations during the holiday. For long-haul trips, Spain, Portugal, France, Switzerland, Italy, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates are sought-after by Chinese tourists, according to Tuniu.

Hotel prices in Madrid, Spain; Moscow, Russia; Saipan in the United States; and Sydney and Melbourne in Australia stood at a relatively low level before the start of summer, making it more cost-effective to travel in early June, Qunar found.

In addition, Paris is expected to attract a large number of visitors as the French capital is scheduled to host the Olympics in July. Prices of flights to Europe are forecast to climb from mid-June, Qunar said.

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