China sees 6B domestic trips for 2024

SURGE IN TRAVEL. Residents visit the Longtan Park’s temple fair during the second day of Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024.
SURGE IN TRAVEL. Residents visit the Longtan Park’s temple fair during the second day of Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. AP

CHINESE tourists are predicted to make over six billion domestic trips in 2024, according to China Tourism Academy (CTA).

CTA is a Beijing-based research institution with a focus on studies in tourism industry.

As for international travel, the academy anticipates a surge in the number of inbound and outbound trips, projecting to over 20 million compared to last year’s 190 million.

In 2023, the Chinese made about 4.9 billion trips, helping China’s domestic tourism recover to 80 percent of pre-Covid levels.

Such anticipated travel surge was seen during the eve of Chinese New Year on Feb. 9, 2024, when over 190 million passenger trips were recorded, according to a Facebook post of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.

The ambassador said according to official statistics, China’s transportation sectors handled 195.24 million passenger trips on Chinese New Year’s Eve, representing a 26.7 percent increase compared to last year. Highways also witnessed the bulk of the travel, with 184.62 million passenger trips recorded, up 24.2 percent from the previous year.

Railway traffic also surged by 98.8 percent, with 8.257 million trips, while air travel saw a 137.7 percent increase, totaling 1.797 million trips.

Passenger trips by water also experienced an uptick of 11.9 percent, reaching 566,000.

The Chinese New Year’s travel rush will last until March 5.

Tourism players across the globe are eagerly waiting for the full return of Chinese tourists.

Alfred Reyes, president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu, said Cebu in particular, anticipates the return of Chinese tourists to boost demand in hotels and other tourism-related businesses.

In 2023, the average occupancy rate for hotels and resorts in Cebu was 60 percent.

Amid the improving number of arrivals, Reyes believes the Philippines will still be far from hitting the 2019 levels without the Chinese tourists in the picture.

In 2019, the Philippines welcomed 8.2 million foreign tourists with China providing 1.74 million tourists, second to Korea with 1.98 million tourists.

Some five million international tourists visited the Philippines in 2023, with China contributing 263,836 tourists, cornering 4.84 percent of the pie.

South Korea remained the country’s top source of tourists with 1,439,336 tourists (26.41 percent), followed by the United States with 903,299 tourists (16.57 percent), Japan with 305,580 (5.61 percent) and Australia with 266,551 (4.89 percent), data from the Department of Tourism showed.

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