Group data shows 2021 travel peak as total bookings during Qingming Festival increase by 300% year on year

SINGAPORE, 7 April 2021 – Group, a leading global travel services provider, has released its Qingming Festival travel data showing a strong recovery in China’s domestic tourism market. Group’s total bookings during the Qingming Festival holiday increased by 300% year on year, with multiple business areas seeing a sharp rise in bookings for the first time this year as volumes surpass those of pre-pandemic Qingming Festival holiday in 2019. Group data shows that domestic air ticket orders during the Qingming Festival this year achieved double-digit growth compared with 2019. The most popular routes link major cities around China, with Shanghai-Beijing, Beijing-Chengdu, Beijing-Shanghai, Guangzhou-Shanghai coming in the top ten most taken routes during this holiday, the first national holiday in China since the Lunar New Year break earlier this year.

The popularity of hotel-based vacations during the Qingming Festival holiday remained strong. Hotel bookings increased by more than 20% compared with the same period in 2019, and nearly quadrupled in comparison to March 2021 volumes. High-end hotel bookings saw even greater growth, with an increase of around 35% compared with Qingming Festival in 2019. Hotel bookings for short-haul travel saw promising increases too, with rises of more than 40% compared with 2019.

According to China’s Ministry of Transport, on the first day of the Qingming Festival holiday the total amount of traffic on China’s national expressway network was expected to reach 151 million vehicles. The phenomenon of the rapidly increasing popularity of “road trips” in China over the past few years has reached new heights in light of the global pandemic. Data from Group shows that road trip car rental bookings during this year’s Qingming Festival increased by 155% compared to 2019.

Nationwide, attraction ticket bookings increased by 232% compared to 2019. Themed tourism, where vacations are based around an activity or theme such as skiing, saw an increase of 127% compared to 2019. The themed tourism market segment in China has seen significant growth in the last year with travellers seeking out an engaging focus during their trips. Some travellers look for more freedom when on vacation, this Qingming holiday saw private group bookings increase by 260% compared to 2019.

Limited to domestic travel options only, the demand for travelling in-country but farther afield fuelled the first cross-province travel peak seen this year. The number of people who signed up for group tours during the two weeks before the Qingming Festival holiday increased by nearly 40% compared to 2019. Signs of wider recovery are even more striking according to data for the whole of March, when cross-provincial travel bookings increased by as much as sevenfold on a month-by-month basis.

Not only have online bookings hit new highs, but offline bookings have also performed well. In March, the number of newly opened offline stores of Group’s three brands in China increased nearly 10 times compared with the previous month. In lower-tier cities, Group offline store coverage now expands to 70% of the market in fifth-tier and county-level cities. Group continues to lead in the Chinese domestic tourism market through its user-centric platforms with unique content and product offerings. Data shows that the average daily order volume on Group platforms in March increased by 50% compared to February. Also in March, the average daily new consumer volume on the platform has achieved double-digit growth, and the average DAU (daily active users) of the Ctrip app increased by nearly 20% in comparison to the previous month.

As an important component of Group’s expanding and enhanced content ecosystem, live stream broadcasts have also achieved strong results as an innovative way to engage users and market exciting new products. When compared with February, Group live streams in March generated double-digit growth in terms of pre-sale GMV and average traffic growth exceeding 40%.

As the first national holiday in China after the Lunar New Year, Qingming Festival provided an opportunity for users to release pent-up travel demand. For the global travel industry, the strong domestic recovery underway in the Chinese market evidenced this Qingming Festival holiday provides insight and hope for domestic recoveries around the world. As a leading global travel services provider at the forefront of the global travel revival, Group will continue to support and enable partners and travellers in the safe recovery of travel.