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Consumer spending records strong growth during National Day holiday

Tourists visit the Forbidden City on October 4, 2015 in Beijing. Photo: Getty Images

China's consumption maintained a strong momentum during the country's seven-day National Day holiday, also called Golden Week, that ended on Sunday.

Retailers and catering companies achieved sales of 1.4 trillion yuan during the Golden Week holiday, with daily retail sales rising by 9.5 percent from the same period a year ago, showed statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.

The Golden Week holiday, which is set for celebration of the founding of the People's Republic of China and ran from October 1 to 7 this year, is a peak season for Chinese people to consume and travel as the country's merchants scramble for customers with sales promotions and discounts.

During the first six days of the holiday, consumption at supermarkets, department stores, home-appliance stores and jewelry shops increased by 38.6 percent year-on-year, according to a report by CCTV, the country's largest state broadcaster.

Intelligent products became popular with consumers during this year's holiday, with sales of smart translators and drones used for aerial photography skyrocketing by 11 and 3 times respectively compared with last year, helped by a boom in the outbound tourism, reported CCTV.

The CCTV report also said that the number of visitors of bookstores and museums was twice as high as ordinary days.

Travel craze

The seven-day holiday provided an opportunity for Chinese people to pack their bags for distant travel or short trips.

The opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link facilitated visits by mainland people to the former British colony. Since its operation on September 23, the Hong Kong section of the high-speed rail served 880,000 passenger trips to and from the Hong Kong Kowloon Station, said MTR Corporation, the rail's operator, on Sunday.

In terms of outbound travel, countries including Japan, Thailand and Australia were hot destinations for Chinese tourists.

Japan overtook Thailand for the first time as Chinese tourists' top choice for this year's Golden Week holiday, according to Ctrip.com, a leading travel agency in China.

Chinese tourists took into consideration the current state of foreign relations with China when deciding which countries they wanted to travel to, said Ctrip. The rising tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade problems have forced the United States out of the top five destinations for Chinese outbound travelers. America is now the 11th most popular destination for Chinese tourists.

Besides, due to the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to realize infrastructure connectivity among countries especially the developing countries, countries like Croatia and Serbia entered the consideration of Chinese tourists.

Travel has emerged as an option in search for a happier life, said Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy.

"[The government] needs to further optimize the system of arranging holidays in a bid to allow Chinese people to have more time to travel," said Dai.

During the last Golden Week holiday, 705 million trips were made, showed data from China's National Tourism Administration.


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