China’s inbound and outward travel increased during the eight-day Golden Week vacation this year, according to official figures released on Saturday, exceeding pre-pandemic levels but falling short of an earlier government projection.
The National Immigration Administration reported that the average number of inbound and outward passenger travels per day reached 1.477 million during the longer-than-usual holiday because the Mid-Autumn Festival coincided with the National Day holiday this year, which ended on Friday.
That represents an 85.1% increase from the same period in 2019, and nearly quadruple the 2022 average, the administration said. It had earlier said it expected an average of 1.58 million daily inbound and outbound passenger trips during the holiday.
The rebound in international travel by Chinese tourists will be a boon to many tourism-dependent businesses around the world.
Before COVID-19, mainland Chinese tourists spent more than any other country’s tourists when abroad, clocking up a combined $255 billion in 2019, with group tours estimated to account for roughly 60% of that.
Booking platforms and agencies say Chinese tourists looking to go abroad favour cheaper Asian destinations, with Thailand by far the preferred choice after it introduced a visa waiver programme.
Spending on domestic trips during the holiday also beat the pre-pandemic level, with an average outlay of 911.6 yuan ($124.86) per trip, according to Reuters calculations based on government data published on Friday.
This compared with 830.8 yuan per trip in 2019 when the holiday was seven days long, and 680.6 yuan last year.
Travellers made 826 million trips within mainland China, up 71.3% from a year ago and 4.1% higher than in 2019, according to data released by the official Xinhua news agency.