China’s Tourism on the Rebound, Themed Tours Prosper

While the Coronavirus continues its rampage through the rest of the world, China has kept new Covid-19 cases at exceptionally low levels with sweeping measures since March. Tourism in China has virtually recovered, and customized, themed and quality tours are on the rise, according to a recent report.

As travel bans were lifted and people settled into the post-pandemic new normal, China’s tourism has been revived by citizens eager to make up for the trips they missed during the lockdowns. Premium quality tourism products and themed tours are taking China’s tourism by storm, according to the 2020 Domestic Tourism Revival Report jointly released by research institution China Tourism Academy and travel agency

The volume of tourists during the Labor Day holiday (May 1 to May 5) recovered 50% compared to the same holiday in 2019, and National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holiday (Oct. 1 to Oct. 8) regained 80% of the previous year’s capacity, according to the report. 

Tailored tours with a smaller group of people are replacing traditional packaged tours with a big group, and themed travels such as mountain-climbing, hiking, skiing, and scuba diving trips are burgeoning among Chinese people.

According to data compiled by, the bookings of themed tours grew by 50% during the National Day holiday this year, compared to the same period in 2019. Based on the agency’s November orders, skiing, off-road driving and outdoors are the top three hot topics. And with international travel limitations, skiing is expected to be the hottest travel idea this winter. 

Themed travels are trending in China. Skiing, off-road driving, global outdoors, nature and rustic luxury, destination photoshoots, hiking, nature exploration, global photography, in-depth culture and RV trips are among the top topics on travel agency

The increase of people’s needs for premium quality and personalization drove the boom for deluxe hotels and private lodgings. 76% of tourists who booked on in November chose to stay in five star hotels.

Chinese people are also searching for more private and less populated destinations to enjoy their vacations after the global pandemic. According to data on Tujia, China’s Airbnb, the bookings of private lodging during the National Day holiday recovered to 91% compared to the same period during 2019. Notably, private lodgings in the countryside grew to 120% compared to 2019. 

For families, road trips have become the go-to move. The daily traffic flow during the National Day holiday was 4.86 million vehicles on average, reaching 94.8% of the traffic compared to the same holiday last year. Instead of the old-fashioned packaged tours, booking tickets, hotels and car-rentals on travel apps to enjoy the freedom of traveling on their own has become increasingly standard among modern Chinese tourists. 

SEE ALSO:Is the Newly Extended Four-day Labor Day Holiday in China Driving Local Tourism?

Local governments also rolled out incentives such as free entries, gas mileage reimbursement and coupons to stimulate tourism.