May Day holiday adjustment triggers tourism craze in China
According to a State Council announcement on Saturday, this year's May Day holiday in China will be expended from a single day off to a four-day holiday, with April 28 and May 5 as working days.
Within an hour after the announcement, trip searches and bookings surged about 50 percent on Ctrip's mobile app, the country's biggest online travel agency.
Ctrip also estimated that about 150 million trips would be made during the period, with notable growth in domestic and overseas regional trips.
Thailand, Japan, and Indonesia are expected to be popular overseas destinations during the holiday, while Chongqing, Hangzhou and Shanghai are among the hottest domestic tourism cities.
Data from Alibaba's online travel agency Fliggy showed reservations for flight tickets and hotels skyrocketed after the holiday adjustment was announced.
Li Chen, general manager of Fliggy's air ticket business, said reservations for international flights surged 150 percent in two hours compared with the same period last week, and bookings for domestic flights increased over 50 percent.
Over the years, there has been a growing tourism demand during the country's two to three day holidays such as the May Day holiday, said Dai Bin, head of the China Tourism Academy, adding that people's spending on travel has also grown significantly.
About 147 million trips were recorded during the three-day May Day holiday last year, while about 726 million trips were made during the week-long National Day holiday, according to the China Tourism Academy.
He Jianmin, with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said the holiday extension enables people to better arrange their vacations, though the total number of annual holidays remains unchanged.
People's growing travel interests will give a boost to catering, accommodation, entertainment and other tourism-related industries and will help diversify travel products and services, said Peng Liang, a researcher with Ctrip.