Spring Festival holiday set to fuel economic rebound as cultural, tourism demands soar

January 19, 2024
Updated 2024/01/19 at 6:24 AM
5 Min Read
Spring Festival holiday

BEIJING, Jan. 19 – As the highly anticipated Spring Festival holiday draws near, the “ice city” of Harbin in northeast China is poised to welcome yet another surge of excitement for ice and snow adventures.

The city has made a remarkable impact on the tourism market during this year’s ice and snow season, thanks to its rich resources, warm hospitality and extensive visibility on social media.

According to a new report by the online travel platform Ctrip, travel bookings to the city for the Spring Festival holiday have soared by over 14 times year on year.

“During this snowy season, the city offers a combination of culinary delights and scenic beauty to both the locals and tourists alike,” said Wang Hongxin, head of the cultural, radio, television and tourism department of Harbin.

The Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 10 this year, is China’s most important festival and an occasion for family reunions. This year’s holiday runs until Feb. 17, one day longer than in previous years.

The extended holiday, together with the recovery of various sectors after a turn in China’s COVID-19 response, is expected to further unleash cultural and tourism demands and add momentum to the economic rebound.

According to the Ctrip report, trips to the chilly north for ice and snow leisure or to the warmer south have become a popular trend for domestic travel during the holiday, with bookings on the platform rising by over seven times from the same period last year.

Harbin’s tourism success story has sparked rising desires for ice and snow experiences, with bookings for such tourism products on Ctrip jumping more than ten-fold year on year. The most popular destinations include Harbin, Mudanjiang and Changchun, among several other northeastern cities, as well as Beijing and Urumqi.

Meanwhile, bookings for outbound and inbound trips have both increased by more than 10 times year on year.

As people embark on journeys for family reunions and recreational experiences, Chinese transport authorities are bracing for record-breaking travel volume during the annual travel rush between Jan. 26 and March 5 this year.

“As per our projections, 9 billion passenger trips will be made for travel, family visits and recreational purposes during the 40-day travel rush,” Vice Minister of Transport Li Yang said, adding that cross-regional passenger flow and self-driving trips will both reach a record high.

Passenger traffic in the civil aviation sector alone will represent a 44.9 percent increase compared to that registered in the same period of last year, marking 9.8 percent growth compared to the level recorded during the same period in 2019.

The relevant authorities are gearing up to ensure sufficient transport capacity and strengthen safety supervision.

As a time for families to get together and celebrate, the Spring Festival holiday also serves as a key season for cultural consumption.

As of Wednesday, a lineup of six domestic movies, namely “YOLO,” “Pegasus 2,” “The Movie Emperor,” “Viva La Vida,” “Boonie Bears: Time Twist,” and “Article 20,” has been confirmed for release nationwide on the first day of the Spring Festival holiday.

As the 10th installment in the “Boonie Bears” franchise, “Boonie Bears: Time Twist,” has received the highest number of “want to watch” votes on the Maoyan film data platform, surpassing 439,500 as of Wednesday evening. It was followed by “Pegasus 2” and “YOLO” with over 365,600 and 238,600 “want to watch” votes, respectively.

The country’s box office kicked off 2024 with a record-high revenue of approximately 1.53 billion yuan during the New Year holiday, with the figure breaking the previous record of 1.3 billion yuan set during the same holiday in 2021, leading to high expectations for the box office during the Spring Festival holiday.

A series of cultural activities will also be held by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism during the holiday, such as village galas, art exhibitions and cultural experiences at libraries to meet public demand.

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