China expects ‘golden week’ holiday journeys to beat pre-pandemic figures

China is on track for a bumper travel season with transport authorities reporting a big rise in sales of train and plane tickets for the holiday after National Day on October 1.

China Railway said train tickets for the “golden week” went on sale on Friday, attracting record interest on the official booking platform 12306.

The passenger and freight rail operator reported “a new single-day record in ticket sales”, selling 22.9 million tickets on Friday alone, according to state news agency Xinhua.

China Railway predicts around 190 million railway trips will be made during the 12-day travel rush from September 27 to October 8.

That is roughly double the 72 million trips made during the same holiday last year and well above the 138 million trips made in 2019 before the Covid pandemic.

“To cope with this year’s peak transport period, the railway department has added 320 extra train services,” China Railway said.


“The technical team at 12306 has also made advance preparations to handle the extremely high volume of traffic on the site.”

Major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Xian are expected to be among the busiest transport hubs, according to 12306.

This year the Mid-Autumn Festival overlaps with the National Day break, making it a longer holiday than usual and giving people a greater chance to travel.

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The official holiday starts on September 29, a Friday, and runs until October 6.

Jin Junhao, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said on Friday that airline tickets were also selling briskly, with more than 21 million people expected to travel by air during the holiday.


“There is a significant increase of 18 and 17 per cent in the daily average number of domestic flights and passengers, respectively, compared to the same period in 2019,” he said.

Shopping platform Meituan, which also sells tickets for transport and tourist attractions, said Wuhan, Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Changsha, and Chengdu would be among the top destinations for train travellers.


Thousands of tourists flock to China’s Great Wall during ‘golden week’, as travel numbers rebound

Thousands of tourists flock to China’s Great Wall during ‘golden week’, as travel numbers rebound


Qunar’s Big Data Research Institute said travellers were also being lured to lesser known centres.

“Young people are developing a preference for ‘small towns’ such as Handan, Luoyang, Liuzhou, Huaian, and Yichun that have airports. Convenient transport and comprehensive facilities and services are attracting tourists,” the institute, part of the online travel service provider, said.

Interest in overseas travel has also risen after outbound restrictions were relaxed.


Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore were the most-searched overseas destinations over the past week, according to Qunar.


South China Morning Post

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