Tourist trips and tourism revenue fell from a year earlier during China’s three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday ending yesterday (June 5), according to figures from the Xinhua News Agency.
The decline will underscore concerns about China’s economic growth outlook at it seeks to recover from disruptions this year in connection with the country’s zero-Covid lockdowns in Shanghai and other major cities extending as long as two months. (See related post here.)
China had a total of 79.6 million domestic tourist trips during this year’s Dragon Boat Festival, according to projections by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, state-run Xinhua said on Sunday.
Xinhua on Sunday didn’t give a year-on-year comparison, but the news agency reported in June 2021 that tourist trips during the Dragon Boat Festival last year totaled “more than 89 million,” implying an approximately 10% decline this year.
Revenue from domestic tourism during the holiday this year was 25.8 billion yuan, or about $3.8 billion, about 12% less than the 29.4 billion yuan Xinhua reported as the 2021 spending total.
U.S.-traded shares among large Shanghai-headquartered travel companies fell on Friday. Trip.com, China’s biggest online travel company, fell 1.8% to $21.73; Huazhu, the hotel chain chaired by billionaire Ji Qi, declined 1.2% to $21.08; GreenTree Hospitality Group, a smaller hotel chain, lost 0.8% to $3.84, and China Eastern, the big state-run carrier, lost 0.9% to $17.51.
Stock trading on Hong Kong and mainland China exchanges was closed for the Dragon Boat Festival on Friday, and reopens today.
There are many competing explanations for Duanwu Jie, the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar,” Smithsonian magazine wrote in 2009. “All involve some combination of dragons, spirits, loyalty, honor and food—some of the most important traditions in Chinese culture. The festival’s main elements—now popular the world over—are racing long, narrow wooden boats decorated with dragons and eating sticky-rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves, called zongzi in Mandarin, and jung in Cantonese.”
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