The Chinese National Day Holiday
If you’re someone who’s relatively familiar with Asia, you know there’s two weeks a year you should almost certainly avoid traveling. The Chinese New Year Holiday and The Chinese National Day (known to many Westerners as Golden Week) both are times when hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens travel both domestically and abroad. So if you’ve been wondering why in your recent travels you’ve noticed an overabundance of Chinese tourists, this is why.
The China National Day holiday also included the Mid-Autumn Festival this year, which extended the holiday by one day. This has led to many calling it “Super Golden Week.” This holiday is when Chinese celebrate the middle of autumn according to the Lunar calendar, when the moon is roundest and brightest. This is traditionally celebrated with traditional foods, of which the most famous during this holiday is undoubtedly mooncakes.
Retailers, tour operators, and a variety of other industries depend heavily on this holiday to generate revenue. With the recent passing of China’s National day holiday, we thought it might be interesting to share some of the statistics recorded regarding travel & spending during the holiday.
Domestic Tourism during China’s National Day 2017
According to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), a total of 705 million tourists traveled throughout Mainland China during the holiday. With a population of 1.4 billion, this represents about half of the entire Chinese population. This represented an 11.9 year-on-year percent increase.
Naturally. popular domestic tourist locations saw massive amounts of tourists over the course of the China National Day holiday. Two examples given by the CNTA were Guizhou, which hosted over 46 million tourists and Inner Mongolia which hosted over 106.2 million tourists. These represented massive increases on the previous year, with 42.1% growth in the tourists visiting Guizhou and 24.5% in Inner Monglolia.
Spending among tourists also saw significant growth. According to the CNTA, over the course of the holiday over 583 billion RMB in revenue was generated . Spending in the aforementioned locations of Guizhou and Inner Monglia saw increased in spending of 43.5% and 38.3% respectively.
Chinese National Day Domestic Travel & Traffic
Traffic along roads and railways hit unprecedented levels during the holiday. According to the China Railway Corporation over 110 million trips by railway were made since the holiday rush began on September 28th. Thousands of extra trains were scheduled to cope with the strain of bookings and delays.
Air travel saw growth of 14.6 percent compared to the same period last year according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), with nearly 2 million traveling on the first day alone! The number of air passengers reached over 13 million, including both domestic and international travelers. With the increase in demand new flights were scheduled, with a total of 96,000 flights over the course of the holiday, representing a 4.1% increase on the same period last year.
Beginning in 2012, the Chinese government also implemented a toll-free holiday policy during the four major public holidays, Labor Day, Qing Ming Festival, Chinese National Day, and The Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). This policy has encouraged Chinese vehicle owners to take travel into their own hands. However heavy traffic led to massive delays on major roadways. Chinese social media platforms were filled with posts regarding massive traffic delays throughout the holiday.
Of the many traffic jams, the most widely reported was on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway. On the expressway, drivers reported traffic delays of up to 10 hours, whereas a normal journey would take 2 hours. This led to buses & tours being cancelled due to the heavy delays, affecting thousands of travelers. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong Guangdong Boundary Crossing Bus Association said that up to 90 percent of coach services had to be halted due to the congestion. You can read the full article on the incident here.
While nowhere near the number of domestic travelers, the CNTA reported that “nearly 6 million Chinese from nearly 300 cities traveled to 1,155 cities in 88 countries or regions during the National Day Holiday.”
Of the many destinations that Chinese tourists traveled to during this period, the most popular was surprisingly Russia. The next most popular destinations were Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. Moscow was the most popular destination, followed by St. Petersburg, Bangkok, Pattaya, and Singapore, according to CNTA data.
Unfortunately, not much other data regarding overseas travel has been released from the CNTA. We’ll be sure to update this article as soon as we can find it!
The Growth of Chinese Mobile Payments
Usage of both WeChat Pay and Alipay saw a dramatic increase during the holidays, as more and more locations throughout the world have begun to accept it. Vendors in cities like Tokyo, Bangkok, and Hong Kong have all begun to accept these payment services. It was the 3 countries that house these 3 cities that saw the highest usage of WeChat Pay and Alipay. However, there was also large amounts of spending in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA.
During the National Day holiday spending through these mobile payment services was more than 8 times the same period last year. Per-capita consumption also increased by nearly 50% as well! Per capita consumption averaged at about 1300 RMB through WeChat Pay & Alipay. Men were also the largest spenders, with 65.39% of all spending coming from male users.
China National Day 2017: At the box office
Consumers often flock to the cinema during the Chinese National Day holiday. This year was particularly good for movie-producers as overall ticket sales increased almost 68%. These ticket sales set a new record for the holiday period. As of October 8th, the domestic film market total box office sales reached 2.64 billion yuan.
The most popular movies during the holiday were /Never Say Die (Xiū xiū de tiěquán), earning 1.32 billion yuan, Jackie Chan’s 英伦对决/The Foreigner (Yīnglún duìjué), earning 414 million yuan, and 追龙/Chasing the Dragon (Zhuī lóng), which earned 360 million yuan. These sales figures should provide a further boost to China’s already strongly developing domestic film industry.
Now that the chaos of “Super Golden Week” has ended, businesses and traffic have returned to normal. (Except for those involved in e-commerce as China’s largest shopping holiday, Singles day, approaches.) We hope you were able to see some Chinese customers during the last week. If you need help preparing to attract Chinese consumers for the next one be sure to contact us!