After a strong summer, China’s travel market is about to get another boost as the Golden Week holiday arrives. More than 21 million people are expected to take flights in the space of eight days. The Sept. 29-Oct. 6 holiday encompasses both Mid-Autumn festival and the National Day break, which doesn’t always happen as the date of the former depends on the lunar calendar.
“More than 21 million passengers will travel by air during the holiday period,” Jin Junhao, a deputy director at the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at a briefing in Beijing on Sept. 15. Just domestically, there will be some 14,000 domestic flights a day, according to the regulator.
With Chinese tourists racing to book flights, airfares are climbing — by more than double on some of the more popular routes. Air China Ltd. economy-class tickets from Beijing to Chengdu on Sept. 29 are listed at RMB 1,800 ($250), compared with RMB 680 for Sept. 22. Long-haul international flights such as Shanghai-Sydney are also double or more than fares later in October.
The eight-day holiday also allows for longer travel. A study by data and analytics firm ForwardKeys found that 37% of travelers plan to stay in their destinations for six to eight nights, a 3 percentage point increase from 2019, before the pandemic.
Outbound travel is also finally picking up, with momentum gathering after Chinese authorities lifted a ban on group tours in August. Favorable entry policies in countries like Thailand have also helped. Data from flight-tracker Umetrip show bookings for international routes are approaching 1 million for the holiday period.
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