Chinese nationals took more than 350 million trips during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday period, which marked Lunar New Year.
According to official data from the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the country saw 344m domestic trips and almost 6.2m international holidays during the week, marking growth of 14% and 7% respectively compared the corresponding period in 2016.
These totals mean that more than 50m domestic and overseas trips were taken every day during the seven-day holiday. In terms of domestic trips, the peak came on 27 January 2017 – the first day of the Spring Festival – when 50.5m people travelled across the country. Many were returning home from cities to the countryside, in what has been described as the world’s largest annual human migration.
But increasingly, the Spring Festival is not only an opportunity for family reunions, but also for tourism. The CNTA said that the country raked in tourism revenues of CNY423.3 billion (US$61.7bn) during week-long holiday, up 16% year-on-year, as rising affluence and spending power accompanied an increasing desire to travel.
The Spring Festival is one of two major travel periods in mainland China, along with the annual Golden Week which takes place in October.
China’s domestic tourism industry earned approximately CNY3.9 trillion in 2016, and the country expects this to increase to CNY7trn by 2020. The Chinese government is placing greater importance on its tourism industry, with investment in the sector expected to grow to CNY2trn by 2020. By this time, tourism will contribute more than 12% of Chinese GDP, according to the government’s five-year tourism plan.