PHOTOS: 274 Million China Trips Taken Over May Holiday

By Alistair Baker-Brian, May 4, 2023

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China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has released data on the country’s May Holiday, and the signs are good for the post-COVID recovery of the domestic travel market. 


Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. Image via Weibo/@君君的旅行日记

According to the Ministry, there were a total of around 274 million domestic trips, a year-on-year increase of 70.83%, and a 19% increase compared with 2019, before COVID restrictions were introduced. 


Crowds at The Bund, Shanghai. Image via Weibo/@朱放元-方圆天地

Spending during the holiday totaled roughly RMB148 billion (around USD21 billion), a year-on-year increase of 128.9% and representing almost the same levels of 2019. 

Here are a few other May Day facts which spell nothing but good news for China’s domestic travel industry.

The Top Ten Most Popular Scenic Spots 

According to CCTV, China’s most popular scenic spots between April 29 and May 1 were as follows:

1. Hangzhou West Lake

2. Nanjing Confucius Temple, Qinhuai River Scenic Area 

3. Nanjing Zhongshan Mountain Scenic Spot

4. Beijing New Summer Palace

5. Dali Ancient Town, Yunnan Province

6. Xi’an Great Wild Goose Pagoda

7. Jinan Tianxia Spring Scenic Area

8. Wuhan East Lake Scenic Area

9. Beijing Olympic Park 

10. Beijing Temple of Heaven Park

Hangzhou West Lake. Image via Weibo/@会玩君wpgmedia

Temple of Heaven Park, Beijing. Image via Weibo/@中心图片

The Hottest Cross-Provincial Travel Destinations

According to the Ministry, the most popular cross-provincial destinations included Beijing, Hangzhou, Dali and Xiamen.

Certain ‘wanghong,’ or ‘internet-famous’ places also proved popular, including Chongqing and Changsha. 


Dali Ancient Town, Yunnan Province. Image via Weibo/@芒果不想再跑跑跑了

Another hot destination included Zibo, a city in Shandong Province located around 100 kilometers east of provincial capital Jinan.

The city might not have the same reputation for tourist spots as the likes of Beijing, Xi’an, etc., but has become popular for its barbeque, something local tourism authorities worked hard to promote. 

The city also implemented other measures to attract visitors from across the country during the May Holiday, including offering free parking. 

Travelers Are Going Further Afield 

According to data from Chinese travel agency Ctrip – the international version of which is – the average distance covered by each traveler over the May Holiday increased by around 25% year-on-year. 

Average distance for flights was around 1,638 kilometers, approximately the distance between Shanghai and Chongqing.

Meanwhile, the average distance for high-speed rail trips was around 389 kilometers, approximately the distance between Shanghai and Huangshan, Anhui Province. 

Ctrip also pointed out that hotel bookings by cross-provincial travelers saw an approximately 7-fold year-on-year increase, and tickets for scenic areas saw an approximately 9-fold year-on-year increase. 

[Cover image (Xi'an City Walls) via Weibo/@参考消息]

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