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May Day Holiday Travel Summary: Chinese tourists' outbound travel to the Middle East is booming, with significant growth, while travel to Japan is seeing a soaring popularity.
During this year's May Day holiday, the outbound tourism market has shown a booming trend. From large cities to small ones, whether it's long-haul or short-haul outbound trips, the enthusiasm for travel has reached unprecedented levels.
Chinese tourists cover nearly 200 countries globally, with significant growth in the Middle East and long-haul destinations.
According to Ctrip's "2024 May Day Holiday Travel Summary," with the implementation of facilitation measures for inbound and outbound, the connection between Chinese tourism and the world has become even closer. During the May Day holiday, the growth rate of inbound and outbound tourism orders exceeded that of domestic travel. In terms of outbound travel,  Chinese tourists traveled to nearly 200 countries and over 3000 towns worldwide.
Popular outbound destinations included Hong Kong, Macao, Southeast Asia, and Japan and South Korea for short-haul trips, while the United States, Australia, and the UK were favored for long-haul travel. Countries in the Middle East such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait experienced a significant increase in outbound tourism, with growth rates exceeding three times compared to last year. Similarly, long-haul destinations such as Spain, Turkey, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, and Georgia saw growth rates of over 1.5 times compared to the previous year.
Recently, with the opening and resumption of multiple direct flights to destinations like Mexico and Brazil, Chinese tourists' exploration of the world will reach even farther, benefiting tourism industries in more countries.
Many travelers booked outbound trips in advance, with a 190% year-on-year increase in outbound travel, and "tourism + shopping" becoming the main appeal for trips to Japan.
Data from Tuniu's "2024 May Day Travel Consumption Inventory" shows a significant phenomenon of staggered travel among users. Nearly 25% of Tuniu users chose to travel before May 1st, with April 27th and April 30th being popular choices for early departures. Some travelers embarked on long journeys as early as April 25th, such as a 24-day trip to five South American countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Peru, one of the earliest and longest journeys spanning the May Day holiday this year.
During this year's May Day holiday, outbound travel accounted for 27% of total trips, with a 190% increase compared to the same period last year. In terms of travel distance, both short-haul and long-haul outbound trips remained popular, accounting for 65% and 35% of total trips, respectively.Popular short-haul outbound destinations included Japan, Thailand, Maldives, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
With the continuous increase in the exchange rate of offshore RMB against the Japanese yen, the enthusiasm of Chinese tourists traveling to Japan has shown explosive growth recently, reaching a peak during the May Day holiday. "Tourism + shopping" has become the main appeal for Chinese tourists traveling to Japan. Tuniu's data for the May Day holiday shows that packaged tour products to Japan, such as "8-day trip to Toyama-Osaka-Tokyo" and "6-day trip to Osaka-Kyoto-Nara," which emphasize small group travel for 2-8 people and 1-2 days of free travel, are highly favored by tourists, and tour products with arrangements for free activities are the most popular.
As for long-haul outbound travel, destinations such as New Zealand, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, UAE, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and Switzerland ranked high in popularity. In terms of packaged tour bookings, tours focused on pure sightseeing without shopping such as "10-day tour of Greece," "11-day tour of Turkey," and "11-day tour of Egypt" were popular, as well as multi-country tours like "12-13-day tour of France-Italy-Switzerland" and "12-day tour of Spain-Portugal." 
Overall, there was a significant increase in outbound travel consumption, with a sharp rise in demand for trips to Japan. "Flight tickets + local group tours," "flight tickets + semi-self-guided tours," and multi-country group tours emphasizing pure sightseeing and small group travel have been widely recognized, providing tourists with more choices and flexible travel experiences.
Visa-free policies have driven the development of urban tourism, with hotel bookings in Hong Kong and Macao doubling in popularity.
According to Tongcheng Travel's "2024 May Day Holiday Travel Consumption Report," due to convenient transportation and policy incentives, some short-haul outbound destinations have become popular choices for Chinese tourists.
Data shows that some short-haul outbound destinations with convenient transportation have become popular choices for Chinese tourists—Bangkok, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Osaka were the most popular international hotel booking cities during this year's May Day holiday. Since the second half of last year, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore have successively implemented visa-free policies for Chinese tourists, driving up the tourism popularity of related outbound destinations. Among the popular international flight routes, the Shanghai-Tokyo route had the highest popularity, followed by Guangzhou-Bangkok and Qingdao-Seoul.
Hotel bookings in Hong Kong and Macao by Chinese tourists increased by over 100% year-on-year. Both places have rolled out numerous tourism promotion policies to attract tourists. Guangdong Province has become the largest source of mainland tourists traveling to Hong Kong and Macao, accounting for over half of the tourists interested in traveling to these regions. Additionally, provinces and cities in the Fujian and Yangtze River Delta regions are also important sources of tourists for Hong Kong and Macao.
This shows the continued enthusiasm of Chinese tourists for outbound travel and the constant attractiveness of short-haul destinations such as Hong Kong, Macao, and Japan, indicating the vitality of the tourism market. With the implementation of convenient tourism policies and the increase in flight routes, Chinese tourists will continue to explore destinations around the world, bringing more opportunities and vitality to the global tourism industry.

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