The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China

04/09/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/08/2024 19:20

Spring outing tradition boosts business opportunities

BEIJING, April 8 -- At the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing, a painting named "Spring Excursion" depicts people enjoying the natural spring scenery. It is believed by many to be the oldest surviving Chinese landscape painting, dating back over 1,400 years.

Spring excursion, or spring outing, which is literally "Taqing" in Chinese, is a centuries-old Chinese tradition that continues to ignite people's passion for travel in contemporary society.

During the three-day Qingming Festival holiday that ended on Saturday, a total of 119 million domestic tourist trips were made, up 11.5 percent on a comparable basis from the same period of 2019, with a tourism expenditure of 53.95 billion yuan (about 7.6 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 12.7 percent from 2019.

FLOWER VIEWING

Flower viewing, a traditional custom of enjoying beautiful flowers in spring, was one of the most popular activities during the Qingming holiday as observed by traveling companies.

According to China's online travel agency Ctrip, during the Qingming holiday, bookings for scenic spots known for mountainous scenery or vibrant flowers increased by 7.7 times and 3.9 times year on year, respectively.

Local governments and businesses have been busy welcoming tourists from across the country during the peak blossom season, as tourists have been eager to enjoy a variety of flowers from cherry blossoms and peonies to azaleas and rapeseed flowers.

In the downtown of the northern municipality of Tianjin, the block of "Wudadao," literally meaning five avenues, is renowned for its architecture and the former residences of celebrities in the early 1900s. During the Qingming holiday, the block received over 2 million visits by tourists eager to admire the crabapple blossoms along its streets.

A crabapple blossom festival held by the local government, featuring pop-up markets and musical performances, also created new opportunities for local businesses.

Wu Sitong, who runs a coffee shop in Wudadao, said they sold crabapple-inspired ice cream and cups during the festival, and that "the recent period saw a peak in customers at the shop and the turnover doubled the usual figure."

TEA TOURS

In major tea-growing areas in China, including the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Anhui, local tourist industries have introduced a series of tea-centered tourist experiences. They are inspired by the centuries-old tradition of tea producing and tasting during the tea harvest season around the Qingming Festival.

In Zhejiang's capital of Hangzhou, which is famous for the West Lake Longjing tea (or Dragon Well Tea), especially Longjing tea picked before Qingming Festival, tourists can book tea tours to experience Longjing tea picking and tea leaf frying as well as visit the national tea museum.

The county of Qimen in Anhui Province, the origin of the Qimen (or Keemun) black tea, has become a popular destination for travelers seeking picturesque tea fields and accommodations that feature traditional Huizhou-style architecture.

Zhang Haochun works at a local bed and breakfast that offers guests the opportunity to experience tea picking, producing, and tasting. The establishment, capable of accommodating up to 50 guests, has frequently been fully booked since the beginning of spring and became even busier during the holiday, Zhang said.

Tourism website Mafengwo said its users' searches, comments, and bookings related to tea gardens and spring tea tasting had recently increased significantly.

According to Luo Yihong, a researcher on the tea industry, the popularity of tea tours reflects young people's pursuit of a healthy life and love for the traditional culture, which is expected to promote the integrated development of tea and tourist industries and a consumption upgrade in China's tea industry.

PASSION FOR OUTDOORS

With spring outings being a fashion among Chinese young people, growing interest in outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling has been observed on social networks.

For outdoors-related businesses, the public's growing passion for the outdoors means not only business opportunities during the holiday but also potential demand in the long term.

Sports goods retailer Decathlon said it saw a remarkable increase in its outdoor goods sales in China over the past month, among which mountain climbing and hiking goods accounted for over half of the total sales, the Economic Information Daily reported.

The second quarter of this year would be the "real peak season of outdoors" and "the sports consumption market will remain an uptrend," it said.

Wu Liyun, a scholar of culture and tourism at the Beijing International Studies University, said the surge in demand for spring outings would boost consumption in various sectors including catering, accommodation and traffic, and benefit the development of these industries.