Chinese tourism growth slows as overseas travel loses its luster

XIAOSHAN AIRPORT, HANGZHOU, ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA: An outbound tourist group is waiting for check-in in front of the counter of China Customs. Chinese nationals have become the largest number of foreign tourists visiting other countries in 2015 as the number of outbound visitors crossed 120 million, registering an 11 million increase from last year.

Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

BEIJING — The rapid growth of Chinese tourism took a bit of a breather during the latest week-long National Day holiday, government data indicate.

The seven-day vacation from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 is dubbed “Golden Week” and is one of the few major government-mandated holidays in a country where personal vacation days are few. This year’s National Day was particularly significant domestically since it revolved around massive celebrations on Oct. 1 for the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party’s rule.

Chinese tourist sites received 782 million visits during the holiday, up well over 7% from last year’s 726 million, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. But, that’s slower than reported growth of more than 9% in 2018, and down from a 10% increase in 2017.

Retail and food and beverage sales from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 grew 8.5% to 1.52 trillion yuan ($212.7 billion), according to the Ministry of Commerce. While a solid figure, that’s a slower pace than the Commerce Ministry’s claims of nearly 10% or higher growth for previous years.

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