Recovering China’s tourism: Waving good-bye to the wintry travel economy

BEIJING, Feb. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from on the recovery of China’s tourism:


What’s it like to have mahjong tables on a train? If you feel tired after mahjong, you can go to the Karaoke room or the cinema room, and then find a massage chair to relax in.

Riding on such a train, the Chinese netizens commented, no one would worry about motion sickness or getting sleepy, the only problem would be they may enjoy themselves too much to want to get off. Exaggeration indeed, but it’s easy to tell how satisfying the train is.

This train is destined for Qinling in western China’s Shaanxi province. Customized train cabins enable passengers to play mahjong all the way to their destination, where beautiful snow sceneries are just there waiting.

Actually, this is not the first time upgraded and customized trains have been used to attract tourists and spur consumption. Tourist train “Hulunbuir”, which serves gourmet foods from China, Mongolia and Russia, and the Panda Train, which provides ballroom and shower amenities on board, are two popular examples. These tourist trains have enriched people’s travels, while their premium service has created new effective demand across the whole tourism market.

That “playing mahjong on the train” suddenly went viral epitomizes the robust recovery of China’s tourism.

During the 2023 Spring Festival holiday, “no travel” was no longer encouraged. A greater number of people returned home or went traveling; they went to more and farther destinations, and spent longer time having fun.

Quoting official data, 308 million people traveled domestically in the past Spring Festival holiday, showing a 20% increase; domestic tourism income surpassed 375.84 billion yuan (55.67 billion USD), a year-on-year increase of 30%. Take me as an example, not only did I go home for the Spring Festival, but I also went to Harbin and visited the Harbin Ice-Snow World, where I again saw more people than the snow. People were queueing up to play while licking popsicles at -35℃(-31οF ). The vibe was red hot in contrast to the cold weather.

Besides domestic tourism, international travel is also recovering. Before the Spring Festival, many countries had been promoting to attract Chinese tourists. The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Maldives’ Minister of Tourism even went to welcome Chinese tourists in person. According to a Chinese traveling platform, the amount of outbound travel orders grew by 640% during the holiday; Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were among the most popular destinations; and orders of flight to Bali alone grew 30 times.

Though fast-growing, this is just an appetizer, since the Spring Festival is always meant for family gathering rather than actual travels. The “main courses” are on the way: From February 6th, China will resume overseas group tours to 20 selected countries. It should be noted that half of the Chinese tourist population choose group tours when comes to overseas travels. Resuming group tours is a signal of the full recovery of Chinese tourism.

Together with Chinese tourists come China’s giant market, its strong purchasing power and huge economic potential. The steady recovery of Chinese tourism not only injects new vitality to China’s domestic economy, but also lends impetus to countries that rely heavily on the tourism industry. Moreover, it gives confidence while serving as an opportunity for the sluggish global economy to look up. That, is a multi-win result.

Of course, every one of you are welcome here in China. Hop on the train and play mahjong with us — we’re waiting for you!

China Mosaic  

Recovering China’s tourism: Waving good-bye to the wintry travel economy