China's tourism industry will continue to surge as people show a strong desire to travel during the May Day holiday despite it being almost a month away, according to industry insiders.
On Monday, authorities announced that the May Day holiday this year will start on April 29 and end on May 3, lasting five days.
With the last major holiday falling in January, industry insiders and tourism operators predict strong demand for travel for the May Day break.
"The suppressed traveling desire will be unleashed at the May Day break, with both domestic and overseas destinations benefiting from the huge travel and consumption demand," said Fang Zexi, an analyst from travel portal Trip.com.
According to the group, the number of bookings for May Day holiday trips as of Thursday had overtaken that in 2019 — which had four days off and was before COVID-19 hit. The number is up sevenfold compared with the same period last year.
Overseas bookings on its platform had increased by 18-fold year-on-year as of Thursday.
During the May Day holiday last year, overseas trips were under strict control with group tours to overseas destinations suspended due to epidemic control policies.
In addition to domestic destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai, Dali in the southwest province of Yunnan and Weihai in the coastal province of Shandong have proved popular.
Chen Liling, a 32-year-old from Beijing, said: "We are planning a trip to Huangshan Mountain in Anhui province and Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang province to spend the holiday. We've not had such a long break for months and we can't wait to travel."
She said that she and her husband plan to start their travel on April 28 — a day before the holiday — to avoid the travel rush.
"Almost every colleague and friend of mine plans to take a long trip this holiday as we only enjoyed one day off during the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday this year, which usually lasts for three days in previous years. Many of my friends booked overseas trips to Southeast Asian countries for the five-day break."
A recent report by travel portal Tuniu forecasted that outbound tourism will see a boom during the coming May Day holiday.
It said that destinations including Thailand, New Zealand and the Maldives remain popular choices for Chinese travelers, adding some destinations in Africa and Europe such as Egypt and France may see increased visits with improved airline capacities thanks to optimized COVID-19 management policies.