Travel operators celebrate surge in bookings as tourism rebounds
Bookings indicate a welcome tourism boom during the upcoming five-day May Day holiday, major domestic travel operators have reported.
The number of bookings for domestic trips were already equal to that of 2019 and had surged more than 700 percent from the same period last year, according to online travel operator Trip.com.
Bookings for outbound tours had soared more than 1,800 percent from last year.
"The strong travel demand by Chinese tourists is expected to be fully released during the holiday and outbound tourism is expected to witness a boom," said Fang Zeqian, a tourism analyst.
Tourists are traveling farther with bookings for long-distance trips accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total and surging 811 percent from last year.
Some hotels with sea views near Erhai Lake in Dali, southwest China's Yunnan Province, were already fully reserved, including a suite priced at 11,450 yuan (US$1,660) per night.
Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia are some of the most popular outbound destinations during the holiday.
Digital platform Meituan said its bookings for accommodation, transport and tourist attractions at domestic destinations surged about 200 percent for the holiday from the same period in 2019, with accommodation bookings even beginning two weeks earlier than usual, recording a five-year high.
"Destinations are expected to trigger a connection effect, boosting regional consumption vitality," said Lu Mengxi, a tourism analyst with Meituan.
Residents in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing and Wuhan are especially keen to travel during the holiday, according to the platform.
Classic routes such as Dali-Lijiang-Shangri-La and Tengchong-Mangshi-Ruili in Yunnan are popular, with bookings for accommodation in Dehong Prefecture surging 4,000 percent from 2019.
Moreover, some hotels in cities including Liuzhou, Luoyang, Taizhou, and Jingdezhen had already been fully booked, Meituan said.
Chinese travel review website Mafengwo said its travel index has signaled a May Day holiday travel boom and the popularity index is still climbing.
Long-distance orders have accounted for more than 80 percent of total bookings with Sanya, Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing and Guiyang the most popular long-distance domestic destinations, it said.
The travel boom for families with children has led to red-hot bookings for amusement parks, zoos and cultural venues such as museums.
Shanghai Disney Resort, the Palace Museum, Universal Beijing Resort, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, and the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding are among the most popular attractions, with tickets selling rapidly, according to Mafengwo.
Hiking, camping and water sports activities are also favored during the holiday with Moganshan Mountain and Wuzhizhou Island popular options, the website reported.
The continued resumption of international flights has swelled the outbound tourism market with beach resorts including Phuket Island, Semporna, Bali, and Jeju Island popular, it said.