Lunar New Year holidays drive China’s tourism to pre-pandemic levels

 Saturday, January 28, 2023 


With travellers venturing out during the Lunar New Year holidays after stringent Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, China’s tourism sector has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, as per industry data.

Hotel reservations in China exceeded the number from the same period in 2019. Domestic long-distance travel orders increased by more than 500% on year while the number of outbound travel product bookings to 33 countries and regions doubled during the first four days of the Chinese Lunar New Year, data released by Alibaba’s travel branch Fliggy showed.

Similarly,, an online travel agency, reports that bookings for hotels, B&B hotels and tourism tickets in the first four days of the Chinese Lunar New Year as of Wednesday have exceeded bookings for the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

The number of outbound air ticket bookings by mainland tourists increased by more than four times compared with a year ago while the number of outbound hotel reservations more than doubled, said Hong Kong and Macau were the top two destinations for mainland travelers, followed by Bangkok, Singapore and Phuket, it said.

Domestic travel also increased from a year earlier during the Lunar New Year holiday period starting from early January but remained below the level recorded before the pandemic in 2019, China’s Transportation Ministry data revealed.

Around 35.3 million passengers travelled daily via roads, railways, by air and waterways, up 73% on year but down 38.2% from 2019 levels, the ministry said Thursday.

Chinese authorities expect around 2.1 billion trips to be made during the Lunar New Year period, up 99.5% from a year ago and recovering to 70.3% of the trips in 2019.

China ended its three-year Covid-zero policy in December. Meanwhile, infections across the country surged with China’s Center for Disease Control Wednesday pointing that the Covid-19 infections in the country may have peaked with critically-ill cases down 72% from the peak earlier this month while deaths of Covid-19 patients daily were down 79% from the peak.

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