SHANGHAI, China: Chinese officials report that 100 million people are traveling daily during the ongoing Golden Week holiday.
Three times per year China has Golden week holidays, in which workers are free from work for one week plus two weekends.
Designed to stimulate the Chinese economy, Chinese people are encouraged to travel to their home towns to reunite with their families, purchase tickets for rail or air travel, buy presents, and host large dinners at restaurants.
In a bid to spend less money, many Chinese are choosing to remain in the country, as opposed to participate in foreign travel.
This year's Golden Week falls during celebrations of the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, continuing until October 6.
Spending during holidays has fallen since the pandemic, as a weaker economy and less available capital places a damper on expensive foreign travel.
"It's not wise to spend so much money," said Beijing tech industry employee Joe Zhang, as quoted by Reuters. He said he will remain in China this holiday. He had hoped to visit Japan, but high costs have made him put off his plans. "I'm disappointed. I haven't been abroad in three years," he added.
Of note, foreign travel by Chinese has only recovered to 60 percent of pre-Covid levels, according to Boon Sian Chai, managing director and vice-president of international markets for Trip.com, China's largest online travel platform, as reported by Reuters.
Additionally, the cost of foreign travel for the Chinese has increased by 30 percent, compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Industry observers have noted that Thailand is currently the most popular destination among Chinese travelers. It is less expensive for many Chinese and has introduces visa free travel.
"If a family travels together, they can save more than 1,000 yuan," just on visa fees to Thailand, said Zhou Weihong of Spring Tour, according to Reuters.
In 2019, the last year before Covid struck, Chinese tourists spent $255 billion abroad, larger than any other nationality.