ForwardKeys and Dragon Trail International collaborated on a joint webinar prior to China’s highly anticipated Golden Week holiday. The purpose of the webinar was to share the latest flight bookings and traveller trends. In case you missed it, here are a few noteworthy highlights. However, you are welcome to download the complete presentation at the end.
Key Golden Week Travel Trends
1. Golden Week Flight Bookings
As of September 15, bookings for the upcoming Golden Week travel period are down by 39% compared to 2019 levels. However,the current outlook for travel on this year’s peak day, September 29th, is already at 93% of the pre-pandemic level.
We’ve noticed a change in how Chinese tourists travel abroad. Previously, there were two main periods when arrivals peaked: right before Golden Week and on the third day of Golden Week in 2019. However, this year we’ve observed that people are now starting their trips earlier to avoid crowds and are also more open to extending their stays at their chosen destinations.
2. Top Outbound Destinations for Golden Week Travel
When we look at the destinations, travel within Asia is only down 33% on pre-pandemic levels. Hong Kong, Macao, and Malaysia have already outperformed 2019’s levels, thanks to easier access, various incentives, and promotions.
For instance, Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong is offering a generous 83,000 complimentary flight tickets for travellers departing from 14 major cities in Mainland China. These tickets are valid for travel from May 7, 2024.
Tourism Malaysia is stepping up its game in China by intensifying marketing efforts, and they’ve recently launched another tourism roadshow in several major Chinese cities to attract visitors.
Indonesia is also experiencing a strong recovery, reaching 75% of pre-pandemic levels. This resurgence can be attributed to improved flight capacity between China and Jakarta, which has already exceeded 2019’s levels by 4% in September and October.
3. Top Domestic Destinations in China
During Golden Week, China is set to experience a remarkable surge in domestic travel, with the number of travellers exceeding 2019 levels by more than 7%.
While Haikou and Sanya remain popular, the most desired domestic destinations for tourists were mainly in the northeast and west regions, known for their splendid autumn scenery. Cities like Chengdu, Beijing, and Urumqi were particularly favoured by travellers.
A noteworthy trend this year is the “Following the shows to travel” approach, where young people plan their trips around plays, concerts, and performances. Chengdu is hosting a multitude of such cultural events during Golden Week, making it an attractive choice for travellers.
Overall, the outlook for Golden Week travel this year is not so gloomy; what the data reveals most importantly is that the Chinese traveller has changed and seeks a new type of holiday, one which is more bespoke and centred on culture and nature.
These are just a few teasers, download the full presentation to view more data in detail as well as additional trends regarding flight scheduling, the role of the Middle East and Turkey plus more!