October Holiday Tourism Bounces Back to Pre COVID Levels

By Billy Jiang, October 7, 2023

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While the media refrained from using terms like 'revenge spending' to describe October's Golden Week holiday, it turned out to be a golden opportunity for the travel industry to shine.

The 2023 Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays saw a remarkable resurgence in domestic tourism, with a staggering 826 million trips made by travelers across China. 

This marked a 71.3% increase compared to the previous year and even a 4.1% boost over the 2019 figures, showing how eager people were to venture out after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

The tourism industry was no doubt delighted as domestic tourism revenue soared to RMB753.43 billion, reflecting a jaw-dropping 129.5% year-on-year growth. 

Compared to 2019, there was a respectable 1.5% increase, indicating the industry's resilience.

Trip.com, known as Ctrip in China, also shared travel data that revealed domestic tourism bookings nearly doubled in comparison to the previous year's Golden Week, with a 10% growth compared to the May holiday. 


Ctrip shares the 2023 Mid-autumn Festival and National Day holidays travel data. Screenshot by That's.

Curious about where the wanderlust led, here were the top 10 domestic destinations:

  • Beijing

  • Shanghai

  • Chengdu

  • Guangzhou

  • Chongqing

  • Hangzhou

  • Nanjing

  • Xi'an

  • Wuhan

  • Shenzhen

For those looking for a quick getaway, here were the top 10 nearby destinations:

  • Guangzhou

  • Nanjing

  • Hangzhou

  • Shanghai

  • Beijing

  • Jinan

  • Suzhou

  • Tianjin

  • Shenzhen

  • Chengdu

Ctrip even coined three keywords for this Golden Week: City Walk, Countryside Tourism, and Culture & Tourism, summing up the diversity of travel experiences people enjoyed.

While domestic travel thrived, international travel bookings also roared back to life with an astounding 800% year-on-year growth. 

Popular flight destinations remained focused on Hong Kong, Macao, and neighboring Asian countries. 

However, compared to the May holiday, the most significant growth came from long-haul international destinations, including Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: 274 Million China Trips Taken Over May Holiday

As travelers embarked on their adventures, amusing anecdotes emerged...

Golden Week Adventures: Trip from Guangzhou Took a Whopping 12 hours. Video via 南归孤夷/Sina Weibo

On September 29, simply getting out of Guangzhou took a whopping 12 hours due to heavy traffic, leading some resourceful drivers to bring rice cookers to whip up meals while waiting.

Golden Week Adventures: Unexpected Surprise for Great Wall Climbers. Video via 星视频/Sina Weibo

October 1 brought an unexpected surprise for Great Wall climbers. Amid heavy crowds, some joked that they only took two steps in three minutes because of the congestion.

Climbing the Great Wall was a breeze since moving an inch was quite the accomplishment.

Golden Week Adventures: Queue to See Panda Superstar Hua Hua Never Seemed to End. Video via w好想…/Sina Weibo

Throughout Golden Week, visitors flooded Chengdu's Giant Panda Base. The queue to see the panda superstar Hua Hua never seemed to end.

Meanwhile, the base announced yet another visitor, Mr. Park, being banned for uncivilized behavior, marking one of several bans this year.

READ MORE: WATCH: Tourists Banned for Life for Feeding Pandas


Midi camping site before being pillaged by nearby villagers. Image via 迷笛/Sina Weibo

On October 4, the Midi Music Festival in Nanyang, Henan Province, added a unique twist to Golden Week by having the entire festival site – including attendees' personal belongings, tents, instruments, stage equipment, and cables – pillaged by nearby villagers.

The bizarre incident left Chinese social media buzzing.

Did you embark on a journey this Golden Week? Share your travel tales and funny encounters in the comments! For more amusing news and updates, follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image: Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station via 希源柯克/小红书]

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