The first day of the May Day holiday sees record rail travel, a boom in consumer spending

Photo: CFP

A tourist who arrived at the Sanxingdui Museum in southwest China’s Sichuan Province at 8 a.m. before opening waited in line for more than an hour to enter, a vivid snapshot of the first day of the May Day holiday on social media platform Xiaohongshu.

Such a travel craze was witnessed across the country on Saturday, the first day of the five-day holiday. Passenger traffic by air, sea and land grew by 151.8 percent year-on-year on Saturday, the latest statistics revealed.

A total of 19.661 million rail passenger trips were made on Saturday with 12,064 passenger trains running, a new peak for one-day passenger traffic, according to China Railway on Sunday. The rail operator estimated that 18 million passenger journeys would be made on Sunday, with 11,217 trains scheduled to run.

Local governments in a number of cities and provinces also released local travel statistics for the first day of the holiday.

Beijing welcomed 1.841 million tourists on Saturday, double the levels from 2022. Sales revenue reached 107 million yuan ($15.5 million), up 180 percent year-on-year, equaling revenue in 2019. Shanghai welcomed 3.062 million passengers on Saturday.

More than 30,000 visited Universal Studios Beijing on Saturday and the number is expected to increase in the coming days, with more than 75 percent of tourists coming from cities and provinces outside Beijing, according to media reports.

For southern China’s Guangdong province, its 150 key scenic spots welcomed 2.21 million tourists on Saturday, up 80.1 percent year-on-year. Highway traffic in Guangdong reached a record 9.12 million vehicle trips on Saturday, according to official statistics released on Sunday.

Some 3.618 million passengers visited Sichuan, up 67.61 percent from 2022, with ticket sales reaching 32.34 million yuan, up 119.34 percent year-on-year.

Changsha in central China’s Hunan province reported a 909 percent year-on-year increase in travel orders on Saturday. First-day hotel bookings increased 685 percent year over year, while scenic ticket sales increased 724 percent.

The subway network in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, recorded 5.06 million passenger trips on Saturday, a record. The well-known scenic spot Yellow Crane Tower said on Sunday that ticket sales had been suspended as the number of visitors who had made reservations for it had reached 90 percent of its maximum capacity.

Driven by a resurgent enthusiasm for travel, China’s consumer market booms during the holidays.

China’s key retail and catering enterprises saw sales rise 21.4 percent year-on-year on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) monitor released on Sunday.

Catering and leisure consumption increased significantly, with sales of key catering businesses up 36.9% year-on-year. Sales of clothing, shoes and hats, gold, silver and jewellery, tobacco and alcohol increased by around 20.9%, 17.6%, 17.4% and 16.8% year-on-year, MOFCOM data showed.

In particular, local consumption saw a significant increase during the May Day holidays.

On Saturday, the box office reached 294 million yuan, with 464,000 screenings attracting an audience of 7.26 million, according to statistics sent to the Global Times on Sunday by Maoyan, a box office tracking site.

The number of shoppers at Suning stores nationwide on Saturday increased 32 percent year-on-year, with order volume up 47 percent, Chinese retailer Suning said in a note sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

The travel industry has estimated that the 2023 May Day holiday will be the biggest for over four years. A total of 240 million trips are expected to be made during the holiday, surpassing that of 2019, with tourism revenue expected to reach 120 billion yuan, according to the China Tourism Academy.

Global Times

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