China’s Golden Week holiday spending per capita surpasses 2019 levels

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese holidaymakers’ spending surged during this year’s eight-day Golden Week holiday, beating pre-pandemic levels and potentially boosting confidence in the country’s economic recovery.

In China, the Mid-Autumn festival is an important festival for family gatherings and this year it coincided with the National Day holiday, resulting in a longer-than-normal break.

Spending on items from hotels to meals during the holiday from Sep. 29 to Oct. 6 is being closely watched for clues as to the strength of consumer appetite, as the economy struggles to recover after the COVID-19 pandemic.

During another holiday earlier this year, many consumers tightened their purse strings.

Average spending per trip during the Golden Week holiday this year reached 911.6 yuan ($124.86), according to Reuters calculations based on government data published on Friday. This compared to 830.8 yuan per trip in 2019 when the holiday was seven days long, and 680.6 yuan last year.

Travellers made 826 million trips within mainland China, up 71.3% from a year ago and 4.1% higher than in 2019, according to data released by the official Xinhua news agency.

Domestic tourism revenue for the holiday period totalled 753 billion yuan, up 129.5% from last year and 1.5% higher than 2019 levels, Xinhua said.

Last year, Beijing’s stringent zero-Covid restrictions kept Chinese tourists at home for fear of being stranded in travel destinations.

While domestic tourism has boomed this year with the lifting of those measures, the recovery has been slower for overseas travel due to factors such as a limited number of flights and high ticket prices.

($1 = 7.3010 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Albee Zhang, Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jan Harvey and Sharon Singleton)