Tourism trend gains more ground as consumer habits change due to COVID
On the first day of the weeklong National Day holiday, the number of day-trip travelers participating in local tours or traveling to nearby regions almost doubled compared to last year, online travel agencies said.
Bookings at hotels and bed-and-breakfasts (B&B) in suburban Beijing were hot commodities. The booking volume for B&B stays in the capital's Miyun district was three times higher year-on-year, said Toncheng Travel, a Suzhou, Jiangsu province-based online travel agency.
The trend also reflects a change in habits among travelers facing the potential risk of a COVID-19 resurgence, it said.
On Saturday, the top five cities recording the highest booking volumes for admission to local tourist attractions were Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan province, Guangzhou in Guangdong province and Chongqing. Among them, bookings from travelers born in the 1990s and after 2000 accounted for nearly half of the total, said Trip.com Group, China's largest online travel agency.
"More people taking trips locally will help expand the growth potential of local travel resources. The break serves as an opportunity for business operators to showcase their abilities. They compete to attract local consumers to revisit by providing high-quality services and innovative activities," said Shen Jiani, a senior researcher at Trip.com's research institute.
Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Springtour Travel Agency, said organizing local tours has become a new business growth opportunity for the agency. Some of its tour guides who guided group tours abroad or on domestic long-haul trips have transferred to local tours and netted stable incomes.
This year, consumers have become more flexible when making travel decisions, and more people tend to book hotels within one week in advance or even on the same day of their stay, Tongcheng Travel said.
"Staying at local hotels has become a new normal for taking vacations locally. High-end resorts, hotels that are child-friendly and cater to pets, and esports have been favored by consumers," said Cheng Chaogong, chief of tourism research at Tongcheng.
In Shanghai, Disney Resort and Changxing Island in Chongming district have drawn the attention of local consumers. While in the East China's Fujian province, due to better control of COVID-19, there is also a year-on-year surge in hotel booking volumes in cities including Fuzhou, Xiamen and Quanzhou, ranking top among its peers nationwide, Tongcheng Travel said.
For long-distance trips, travelers are willing to get up close with nature and view autumn scenery. Taking bamboo rafts on the scenic Lijiang River in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, or going to Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province, are among the most popular destinations nationwide, it said.