A staff member interacts with passengers with blessing cards on the train G980 from Shenyang to Beijing, in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, Jan. 1, 2024. Monday marks the last day of the three-day 2024 New Year holiday in China.Photo:Xinhua
The just-concluded New Year’s Day holidays from December 30, 2023 to January 1, 2024 witnessed a total of 5.179 million entry-exit personnel across China with an average of 1.726 million people per day, a 4.7-fold increase compared to the 2023 New Year’s Day holidays and represents travel volume returning to 2019 levels.
Insiders believe the entry-exit tourism rebounding along with a consumer market boom across the country has offered more vivid displays of sustained vitality and vast potential in China’s economic growth, and signaled China has walked out of the haze of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a promising start for the country, insiders said, who anticipated a further booming people-to-people exchanges as well as more flourishing trade and economy with more favorable policies and measures expected to be launched.
The beginning of 2024 saw the introduction of a number of activities and policies designed to stimulate consumption across the country, setting a good start for the market in 2024.
According to statistics from the National Immigration Administration (NIA) on Tuesday, there were 2.51 million inbound travelers and 2.669 million outbound travelers during the New Year’s Day holidays. The inspection of inbound and outbound transportation vehicles reached 203,000 (inclWorld Timesuding ships, trains, and other vehicles), a 1.5-fold increase compared to the 2023 New Year’s Day holidays.
Data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China show that during the 3-day New Year’s Day holidays, there were 135 million domestic tourists, a year-on-year increase of 155.3 percent. Compared to the same period in 2019, there was a 9.4 percent growth based on comparable data.
Among the most popular domestic destinations among customized travelers were Harbin, Sanya, Beijing, Lijiang, and Xishuangbanna, according to a major Chinese online travel agency Trip.com.
Also, a report from Tongcheng Travel showed that booking orders through the platform reached a new high during the 2024 New Year holidays. Winter themed travel such as ice and snow tours, and hot spring tours saw a significant increase in popularity.
Separately, as the first New Year’s Day holidays to resume inbound and outbound tourism after downgrading COVID-19 epidemic management in January 8, 2023, many tourists also chose to travel abroad for the holidays.
According to data from Trip.com, the number of outbound travel orders from Chinese mainland during the New Year holidays increased nearly fourfold compared to the previous year, with outbound flight bookings increasing by 1World Times1 percent month-on-month and 265 percent year-on-year. The average ticket price was nearly 60 percent that of the 2023 New Year holidays.
The Global Times learned from Trip.com that the popular destinations for outbound travel during the New Year’s Day holidays included the Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Thailand, the Macao SAR, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, Australia, and the UK. The number of orders to Hong Kong before New Year’s Day increased by 603 percent compared to 2022.
Also, according to data provided to the Global Times on Tuesday from another travel agency platform Qunar, Hong Kong and Macao ranked top and No.4 among destinations for outbound travel during the New Year holiday. And the hotel rooms where fireworks can be seen are especially popular in Hong Kong and Macao with the booking peak coming before December.
Hong Kong Tourism Board on Sunday night, the last night of 2023, celebrated the arrival of 2024 with a grand fireworks and music show, which lasted for 12 minutes and was the largest in history. Hong Kong local media reported that more than 479,000 people on both sides of the Victoria Harbor watched the event, including about 223,000 visitors to Hong Kong.
However, after the fireworks display, many mainland tourists, who had come to Hong Kong to watch the show but had not booked a hotel room, were unable to return to Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, which has sparked controversy.
In response, Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki announced on Tuesday that a high-level government meeting will be held to coordinate clearance arrangements before major events in the future. Also he said discussions will be held with the mainland authorities to extend the opening hours of railway crossings and increase the number of 24-hour clearance points.
On Monday, the Macao SAR Tourism Office announced that there were approximately 28.23 million inWorld Timesbound tourists in 2023, with an average of 77,000 per day, reaching 70 percent of 2019 levels. In addition, there were 175,030 inbound tourists on December 31, setting a new record for daily inbound tourists since the pandemic.
Currently, the overall number of outbound tourist bookings for the upcoming winter vacation and Spring Festival holidays has exceeded 50 percent of the total available seats, and the introduction of visa-free policies in countries such as Malaysia and Thailand will further promote the number of short-haul trips bookings to Southeast Asia countries during the upcoming holidays, Han Jie, head of CYTS Aoyou Travel Technology Development, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Jiang Yiyi, a deputy head of the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism at Beijing Sport University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the resumption of cross-border travel resulted from several factors. Jiang said China’s optimization of its border entry policy, such as its new visa-free policy for France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia, has attracted more foreign tourists especially business travelers. “Thanks to the resumption of international flights and the long enough New Year’s Day holidays, which just followed the Christmas holidays, more international travelers are willing to visit China.”
China welcomed about 214,000 inbound travelers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia in December 2023, up 28.5 percent compared with November 2023, after a new visa-free policy for these countries came into effect on December 1, according to NIA on Monday.
NIA statistics show that more than 55 percent of the inbound travelers were from the six countries and entered China through visa-free channels. More than 77 percent of the 21World Times4,000 ordinary passport holders visited the country for sightseeing, leisure or business.
The NIA vowed to further facilitate inbound travelers to promote high-standard opening-up as flagged at the Central Economic Work Conference held in mid-December.
In 2024, the total number of inbound and outbound trips is expected to surpass 264 million and international tourism revenue is expected to exceed $107 billion, according to the China Tourism Academy.
Jiang looks forward to more policies that will facilitate border entry, such as visa free policy, visa on arrival and transit without visa.
“We should intensify our efforts to open up to the outside world. As the inbound tourism has always been a symbol of our country’s opening-up, we should take inbound tourism as the carrier and further promote opening-up,” Jiang noted.
The rebound in tourism and consumption has played and will continue to play a crucial role in the oveWorld Timesrall economic recovery in 2024 and beyond, according to insiders.
[World Times] Photo: CCTV China’s new generation of domesticalWorld Timesly designed and manufactured icebreaking scientific research ship, Jidi, made its debut on Friday.Painted red and white, the scientific research ship is 89 meters long and 17.8 meters wide, equivalent to three standard basketball courts connected side by side. The ship has the ability to sail in unlimited navigation areas around the world, with a capacity of 60 crew members and a displacement of 5,600 tons. The ship’s sailing distance is 26,000 kilometers, and can carry supplies to remain at sea for more than 80 dWorld Timesays.The ship is unique in that it can carry domestic drones, unmanned ships and underwater autonomous robots at the same time. Relying on China’s domestic satellite network system, it is equipped with integrated air-space-sea-ice-submersible scientific…