The key tourism and spending data during China’s National Day Golden Week showed a weaker-than-expected recovery in consumption due to China’s overall economic recession, which was lower than the authorities had expected.

According to the data released by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Saturday (October 7th), a total of 826 million people have traveled during the eight-day holiday from September 29th to October 6th, up 4.1 percent from the same period in 2019. Chinese tourist spending increased 1.5 percent from 2019 to reach RMB753.43 billion ($103 billion).

Although the number of travel and expenditure has increased compared with the pre-COVID 2019, it is far from the level of “revenge spending” that many people expect.

CNN reported that both growth rates were lower than the government’s forecasts. Before the holiday, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism expected domestic tourism to reach 896 million trips and tourism spending to reach RMB782.5 billion ($107.2 billion).

CNN cited a comment from analysts at Goldman Sachs that the tourism data “suggests that the services recovery has slowed,” but added that the recovery is still underway.

Data from Alipay, China’s largest payment platform, shows that the number of outbound travelers using its payment service is only 80 percent of what it was in 2019. Per capita spending grew slightly, reaching 105 percent of 2019 levels. Currently, Alipay has more than 700 million monthly active users.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.