By Wang Ke, Cao Wenxuan, People's Daily
China, the most promising consumption market in the world, is seeing a dramatic rise in the culture and tourism sector as the Chinese New Year, the most important festival of the year for Chinese people, approaches.
The demand for cultural and tourism products is increasing at an accelerated rate, boosting confidence in the recovery of the industry and guiding its innovative development.
"There are more and more visitors coming to Sanya. I received three batches of tourists this morning alone," said Wang Yu, who works in the tourism industry in Sanya, south China's Hainan province.
According to statistics released by Sanya Phoenix International Airport, the airport handled 929,000 passengers in the first 15 days of January this year, up 15.3 percent year on year.
A report on tourism consumption during the 2023 Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, issued by Tongcheng Travel, a market leader in China's online travel industry, said there has been a significant rise in traveling demand during the Chinese New Year period this year, especially for medium- and long-distance trips.
The Spring Festival travel rush officially started on Jan. 7. The number of ticket orders received by Tongcheng Travel for trains departing on the Chinese New Year's Eve and a day before surged 31 percent from a year ago, ranking first in the past three years. Between Jan.1 and 8, the consultation volume for long-distance travel products scheduled for the Spring Festival vacation increased nearly 20-fold. Besides, the search volume for hot destinations, such as Xishuangbanna, Changbai Mountain, Sanya, and Xiamen, more than doubled from a year ago.
The per-customer transaction of travel products scheduled for the Spring Festival period has increased by over 70 percent from a year ago, and the numbers of hotel and tourist site ticket bookings have increased by nearly 20 percent, said Alibaba's travel portal Feizhu. There is also a significant rise in the distance and duration of trips as well as the number of travel companions, according to Feizhu. Besides, the bookings for high-end hotels also improved by nearly 30 percent, and those for rural B&Bs increased by over 100 percent.
Li Donghan, owner of a B&B hotel in Dali, southwest China's Yunnan province, told People's Daily that all rooms had already been booked for the Spring Festival period. The man has cooperated with local farmers to sell local specialties and artware at his B&B.
"There are around 7,000 B&B hotels in Dali. A large portion of the rooms have been booked for the period from now to the Spring Festival vacation, and the figure is over 90 percent in some high-end B&B hotels," said Li Haizhong, head of the homestay association of Dali.
In a theater near the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum in Lintong district, Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi province, a show about the renowned Terracotta Warriors is chased after nowadays.
Qiao Lida, who manages affairs for the show, told People's Daily that the show was first staged at the end of 2022 and has played to a full house almost every time. "To meet the demand for tourists, we'll for the first time keep playing the show during the Spring Festival," Qiao said.
The demand for culture and tourism consumption in China is upgrading thanks to the accelerated integration of the culture and tourism sectors and the constant development of the market. Market entities on the supply side are closely following the new trend of the consumption upgrading to offer new and higher-quality products and services that better meet the demand of tourists.
"I never thought that I could visit the Weishan Lake tourist site for free," said Li Xu, a university student from Jining, east China's Shandong province. The tourist site offered 10,000 free tickets for university students returning to the city during the winter vacation, and is staging a series of splendid activities such as fireworks shows and lantern fairs.
Local authorities across China have rolled out policies to support the recovery and expansion of culture and tourism consumption.
Shanxi province's culture and tourism department recently unveiled a list of tourist sites that offer ticket discounts ranging from 20 percent to 90 percent. A total of 106 sites were on the list.
The tourism authorities in southwest China's Guizhou province said tourists visiting the province between Dec. 16, 2022 and Feb. 28, 2023 can enjoy free tickets of tourist attractions, as well as 50 percent discounts on expressway tolls and hotel expenses.
An official with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said new policies will be launched to further relieve tourism enterprises' burden, boost the tourism industry, and promote consumption, so as to vitalize the industry's confidence and make it more energetic.