There are two major holidays in China that most Chinese make big travel plans for. The first is the Spring Festival, which coincides with China’s Lunar New Year and when millions of people travel to spent time with their families. The second major holiday is China’s National Day. It’s often called Golden Week because the holiday lasts a whole week, normally from October 1st to October 7th. Chinese citizens really appreciate this holiday, not only because it commemorates the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, but also because it offers a long break from work or school and the opportunity to travel to different cities or countries.

A weeklong holiday period devoted to traveling may seem anomalous for Americans. In the United States (and other Western countries), holiday breaks such as Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to only be 2-3 days at most, and it’s common to treat them as a family reunion time. Although many Westerners travel during the holiday season, the end goal is to be closer to family and friends. However, in China, people prefer to spend holidays with family and friends on the road, getting away from home and making detailed travel plans. For the Chinese during Golden Week, the motivation is travel itself.

As China’s economy and outbound tourism market grows, travel companies everywhere are looking to capitalize on the huge opportunity that exists in such a large market. Here are three major trends that travel advertisers need to know about China’s Golden Week:

The demand is huge and increasing every year

Today, China will celebrate its 69th National Day. According to data from China’s official government site, the number of tourists traveling domestically and internationally on this holiday reached up to 700 million in 2017, which is nearly one-tenth of the world’s population. This large volume also brought huge business opportunities for the hotel industry, leading to an average 140% YoY growth in hotel bookings. When we analyzed Koddi’s own proprietary data, the opportunities (or demand) for Chinese tourists at the peak of National Day in 2017 was 2x the demand at the end of the Golden Week holiday period. With an increase in metasearch and hotel brand advertising spend in 2018, we have reason to believe that this year’s booking volume trend will also be positive.

Outbound travel is becoming more popular

In recent years, with easier access to foreign visas, more Chinese are choosing oversea travel over domestic travel. During last year’s National Day, outbound travel accounted for 40% of the total travel volume for China. Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and the US were the top five travel countries that attracted the most Chinese tourists. It is worth mentioning that Morocco stood out among other destinations, with a YoY growth reaching 400%.

Group travel is still the mainstream

In China, the more, the merrier. In 2017, 45% of tourists chose to travel in groups. This subset of travelers consists of big families and retirees who tend to book mid-level hotels. 44% of Chinese travelers preferred flexible trips, which appeal to millennial friend groups and newlywed couples looking to stay in middle to high-end hotels or Airbnbs.

With current trends indicating an increase in demand combined with more affordable travel options, we can safely say China’s tourism industry will continue to expand as well as the need for more hotel accommodations, flights, and rentals. As the Lunar New Year approaches, we expect more trends to emerge. We’ll continue to analyze these trends and provide greater insights into travel patterns in the APAC region. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest research.

Golden Week: China's Biggest Holiday for Travel

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