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    As Summer Begins, Chinese Travel Market Picks Up Momentum

    Travel companies are reporting a surge in bookings for both domestic and outbound trips as the summer peak season gets underway.
    Jul 01, 2024#tourism

    China’s tourism market appears to be gaining momentum as the peak summer travel season gets underway, with operators reporting double-digit increases in bookings compared with the same period last year.

    July 1 to Aug. 31 is a key period for China’s travel sector, as it coincides with school and university summer vacations. As in many countries, it’s a time when families often go away together and students take trips to celebrate the end of their exams.

    This year, Chinese consumers appear to be itching to get away, with demand for both domestic and international trips surging compared with last year’s summer travel season.

    China’s railway system is projected to handle 860 million passenger journeys over the summer vacation period, 13% higher than last year. According to the online travel platform, searches for domestic hotels and flights are up over 20% year over year.

    Families are driving much of this demand, accounting for 48% of domestic travelers and 52% of international travelers, according to Many parents are choosing to take their children on educational tours to famous landmarks in Beijing and Shanghai, which has caused bookings for experiential travel products to skyrocket 70% year over year.

    There is also a growing trend for families to go on trips to the countryside. According to, bookings in fifth-tier cities and counties have risen 34% and 22% year over year, respectively.

    Peng Yuling, a Shanghai resident, is one of many parents taking time off work to go on a family vacation this year. Peng and his wife plan to take their daughter to the seaside city of Weihai in eastern China’s Shandong province for a week.

    The purpose of the trip is to broaden their daughter’s horizons, introduce her to different local cultures, and spend some quality family time together, Peng said. “The summer vacation is the best time to take children on a trip; it allows them to relax and gain more knowledge that you can’t get from books,” he told Sixth Tone.

    Students are also traveling in huge numbers this year. Online travel firm Tongcheng Travel has reported strong growth in both rail and flight bookings to major cities across China this year, with young people aged between 18 and 26 accounting for 54.5% of rail passengers.

    Zhang Ping is among the millions of students planning to celebrate the end of the college entrance exams by going traveling with her friends. The 18-year-old plans to travel from Shanghai to the neighboring Zhejiang province and spend 10 days exploring the region’s picturesque towns and countryside.

    “This is my graduation trip, it means a lot to me,” Zhang said. “For me, traveling isn’t just about seeing the sights; more importantly, it’s about having experiences and connecting with people.”

    Demand for outbound travel also appears to be growing strongly this year, boosted by the introduction of visa waivers for Chinese tourists in several countries and major events such as the Paris Olympics.

    Travel agency Spring Tour has reported that bookings for overseas trips during the summer vacation are up over 100% year over year. has said that demand from young people is particularly strong: International bookings from people born after 2000 have increased 153% year over year this summer, according to the company.

    Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore are reportedly popular destinations this year, with all three countries having introduced visa waivers for Chinese tourists. European countries are also seeing a surge in travelers from China due to the Paris Olympics and the soccer European Championships.

    According to, bookings to France have spiked by 80% this summer. Orders for trips to Germany, where Euro 2024 is being held, have increased more than 150% year over year, the company said.

    Tongcheng Travel, meanwhile, has reported a 70% year-0ver-year rise in flight bookings to Paris from major Chinese cities. Hotel bookings in Paris are up nearly 150% year over year, the company added.

    (Header image: VCG)