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China’s Covid Surge Hits Tourism, Leisure Over Key Holiday

Covid-19 lockdowns had a severe impact on China’s Golden Week, as travellers spent 43% less over the five-day break that ended on Wednesday, data showed

A boy plays at a beach on Hainan Island, but spending was down over China's Golden Week
A beach in Sanya, on Hainan Island. The hotel occupancy rate in Sanya, a destination popular for its duty-free shopping, was just 20.6% during the holiday, data showed. Photo: Reuters.


Covid-19 lockdowns tarnished the lustre of China’s May Golden Week as travellers spent 43% less over the five-day Labour Day holiday that ended on Wednesday than a year earlier, government data showed.

Tightening prevention measures across the country hit consumption, with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism saying on Wednesday that Chinese domestic travel revenue tumbled to 64.7 billion yuan ($9.78 billion).

The 160 million trips made over the holiday marked a 30% year-on-year decrease.

The Labour Day holiday is traditionally one of China’s busiest tourist seasons as spring moves into summer but it was disrupted this year by efforts to fight the largest coronavirus outbreak since the virus emerged in Wuhan in 2019.



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Hotels Slash Prices

Last week hotels across the country slashed prices by up to 50%, with room rates in many Chinese cities hitting a five-year low for the holiday period as hotels braced for a fall in travellers.

The ministry said that tourist traffic was weak across popular domestic destinations, including tropical Hainan Island, Jiuzhaigou National Park and West Lake in the city of Hangzhou, which all reported large falls in visitor numbers.

The hotel occupancy rate in Sanya, a Hainan destination popular for its duty-free shopping, was just 20.6% during the holiday, ministry data showed.

Meanwhile, five-day box office takings of 297 million yuan during the holiday were the lowest of recent years, and down sharply from 1.67 billion yuan last year, the online ticket platform Dengta showed.

Dozens of cities across China have imposed full or partial lockdowns to combat the spread of Covid-19, including Shanghai, the country’s biggest city.

Beijing, the capital, has also imposed movement curbs and shut many leisure and tourist venues, including the city’s Universal Studios resort.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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