What Is China’s Golden Week?

Have you ever found yourself scratching your head over the significance of China’s Golden Week, not just in Asia but globally? Being someone who has personally navigated these bustling times, I can attest to how daunting it can feel – most especially when all you’ve got are cryptic explanations and disjointed pieces of information.

So I dove into thorough research and stitched together a comprehensive guide that will illuminate this intriguing event with clarity. In the ensuing moments, we’re about to unravel enigmas like “What Is China’s Golden Week?” its impact on the global economy, and so much more..so buckle up and let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • Golden Week is a big event in China that started in 2000. It helps the economy grow.
  • Two main types of Golden Week are there: Chunyun and National Day. They draw lots of people who travel and shop.
  • Millions of Chinese go on trips during Golden Week, both inside and outside China. This boost in tourism brings a lot of money into the economy.
  • The time around Golden Week sees high demand for shipping goods because people buy more stuff. Importers and exporters need to plan well for this.
  • Some people argue about how much good Golden Week does for the economy. The holiday schedule changes sometimes, which can make things tricky.
China's Golden Week Explained

History of China’s Golden Week

Launched in 2000 by the Chinese government, Golden Week was a strategic move to stimulate domestic consumer spending and bolster economic growth.

Implementation in 2000

In 2000, the start of a new era came to China. They put Golden Weeks into play. This move had a big job: to boost their economy. Holidays that went on for longer became known as Golden Week because they were so important.

It was like an extended celebration and became part of tradition!

Purpose of boosting the economy

China started the Golden Week holiday season in 2000. The big idea was to make the economy stronger. By giving people a week off, they hoped folks would travel more inside China. Extra trips mean more money gets spent.

Golden Week also helps stores sell more stuff. People have free time to go shopping. Those sales add up and give the economy a push too! So, for me as a marketing manager, it’s all about getting ready for this busy week.

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Types of Golden Week

Two main types of Golden Week exist in China: the “Chunyun” which coincides with Chinese New Year, and the National Day Golden Week typically observed in October.

Chunyun during Chinese New Year

Chunyun happens during the Lunar New Year. It’s a big deal in China! It’s one of two long holidays, so many people go on trips. They use cars, buses, trains, and planes to get around.

With everyone traveling at once, things can get pretty busy. We call this travel rush ‘Chunyun.’ Lots of Chinese also use this time for family gatherings since it is a nationwide holiday.

The Chinese New Year or Chunyun usually falls in January or February each year.

This whole event is part of what we call Golden Week – Chunyun being an important part of it because it brings together our reunion tradition.

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National Day Golden Week

National Day Golden Week is the second long holiday (and unfortunately the last one). It starts every year on October 1st and runs until the 7th. The 1st of October marks China National Day, but if holiday dates overlap with the Mid-Autumn Festival (like this year because it fell on the 29 of September on the Friday before the holidays), the Golden Week holidays get extended to 8 days.

People get time off from work, making it a hot vacation period. It’s like when the whole country goes on holiday at once! So where do people go? Well, many opt to travel within China.

This boosts the country’s tourism industry big time each year! Being aware of this festive week can help you plan your marketing strategies better as it affects consumer spending habits across various sectors including travel and retail.

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Golden Weeks 2023

The Golden Week in China sparks a significant surge in domestic and international tourism, driving massive consumer spending. From the viewpoint of importers and exporters, this period requires thorough logistics planning due to disruptions in supply chains across industries.

This week-long holiday not only boosts the Chinese economy but also has global implications as millions of Chinese tourists travel worldwide.

Millions of Chinese tourists traveling during the Spring Holiday

Golden Week is a big deal in China. Huge numbers of people go on trips. More than 21 million people fly to different places. About 600 million people travel within the country. Train trips are also very popular during this week, with around 120 million people traveling by train in 2023.

Chart: Chinese New Year Travel Picks Up Again | Statista

This year’s Spring Festival was the first time since international and domestic flights caught on after the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also the first months after heavy lockdowns, so many Chinese rushed to visit their loved ones or visit hot destinations and many tourist attractions within and outside of China.

This year during the first golden week, 300 million Chinese chose domestic travel. According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the figure was up 23% from 2022, contributing to a domestic tourism revenue of about 376 billion yuan ($55 billion), up 30% year-on-year.

Of course, as you can see on the infographic above, there were huge growths regarding flights, which comes as no surprise, as the borders were closed the year before, and domestic flights were scarce.

Apart from the travel gains, as in hotel rooms reservations, transportation such as train tickets expenses, famous attraction choices etc, there are also other, less obvious gains. For example, during those seven days, the box office in China made 6.8 billion yuan, as Chinese people had time to go to the cinema with their loved ones. There were also more than 28 billion views of firework displays on Douyin, and social media saw a surge in e-commerce activities.

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Big surge in the travel sector during October’s Golden Week 2023

October’s Golden Week in 2023 witnessed a massive surge in China’s travel sector. Following years marked by restrictions and cautious travel behaviors due to the pandemic, 2023 became the year where wanderlust found its full expression.

Airports, train stations, and bus terminals across the country were bustling with activity as millions seized the opportunity to explore both domestic wonders and international destinations. This National Day Holiday has seen 114 million passengers traveling by train over the past 7 days.

Only during the first three days of the People’s Republic holidays, a total of 395 million domestic tourism trips were made, an increase of 75.8 percent year-on-year. Domestic tourism revenue touched 342.24 billion yuan ($46.87 billion), a year-on-year increase of 125.3 percent.

Popular tourist spots, previously devoid of the usual crowds, found themselves hosting record numbers of visitors, with attractions receiving 754 million visitors, according to China Central Television. Visits to domestic attractions rose 78.9% year-on-year, with tourism-related revenue up 132.6 percent to more than 668 billion yuan ($91.5 billion).

Hotels, restaurants, and other service industries, closely tied to the travel sector, reaped the benefits of this sudden inflow of eager tourists. The renewed vigor in the travel industry not only signified economic rejuvenation but also marked a hopeful return to normalcy for many citizens, keen on making up for lost time and adventures.

Boost in tourism and consumer spending

Golden Week makes a big splash in China’s tourism and shopping scene. Millions of locals hit the road for fun trips. Others choose to buy gifts and treats. This leads to a lot of money spent on travel, hotels, food, and stores.

Logistics for importers and exporters

Golden Week brings big changes for importers and exporters. With so many people buying stuff, the demand rises up high. Freight forwarders get too much work. They can’t handle it all.

This makes ocean and air shipping costs go up during Golden Week. Chinese customs does not clear imports at this time either. For air shipments to be handled in Golden Week, they need a pre-booking notice from before the holidays begin.

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New Trends Observed This Year

This year, already after two Golden Weeks in Mainland China, we can share some of our thoughts on what we observed among Chinese tourists.

Rise of Domestic Travel

Gone are the days when foreign shores were the most sought-after vacation spots. This year saw a pronounced surge in domestic tourism, with many travelers choosing to explore the rich tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and histories within China’s borders. This trend not only boosted local economies but also fostered a renewed sense of national pride and appreciation for homegrown wonders.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Choices

Instead of flocking to the typical tourist hotspots, a notable number of Chinese tourists showcased a growing interest in less-populated destinations. These quieter, more serene locales offered a respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Moreover, there was a distinct move towards engaging in outdoor activities, from mountain hikes to lakeside camping, revealing a collective yearning for nature and open spaces.

The New Chinese Traveller

The Era of City Walks

The conventional whirlwind tour approach, where travelers rush from one landmark to another, is being overshadowed by a more leisurely and immersive experience: city walks. Tourists are now spending time just walking around cities, savoring the local vibes, tasting street foods, and simply soaking in the ambiance. This shift speaks to a desire for deeper, more authentic connections with places, beyond just the highlight reel.

Homes Turned Homestays

In a blend of entrepreneurship and hospitality, many Chinese residents are transforming their homes into homestays. Capitalizing on the domestic travel boom, these enterprising individuals are offering travelers a taste of local life, combining the comforts of home with the novelty of travel. These homestays are not just places to sleep, but platforms for cultural exchange, authentic local experiences, and personalized interactions.

Source: Sixth Tone

Together, these trends signal a broader shift in how Chinese tourists perceive and experience travel, favoring experiences that are more personal, immersive, and deeply connected to the essence of a place.

Need Expert Guidance on Navigating the Chinese Market?

Understanding events like China’s Golden Week is just the tip of the iceberg. At Gentlemen Marketing Agency, we specialize in helping brands seamlessly integrate and flourish in the complex Chinese market landscape. From consumer behavior insights to targeted marketing campaigns during peak seasons, we’re your go-to partner for success in China.

Reach out today and let’s make your brand resonate with Chinese consumers.

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