May Day 2024 single-day tourism reaches 316 million visits

“Tang Dynasty Never-Sleeping City has been occupied by tourists from six countries,” “The most beautiful ‘human wall’ reappears beside Hangzhou’s West Lake,” … As the May Day short holiday enters its second day, interesting travel stories from various places remain frequent visitors on the hot search list.

To attract tourists to their cities during this holiday, local cultural and tourism departments have spared no effort. On May 1st 2024 alone, the number of cross-regional travelers nationwide reached nearly 316 million.

Cultural and tourism “internet celebrity” cities each have their “echoes” during May Day

    As a peak season for travel every year, the May Day holiday is a must-win battlefield for the tourism market. This year’s May Day short holiday not only has a 5-day break, but many netizens have also turned their holiday from 5 days to 9 days by taking annual leave. This has become an important holiday that many cultural and tourism departments are racking their brains to “attract traffic.”

    This battle for tourists in the cultural and tourism sector had already begun long ago. In addition to opening up more tourist routes and recommending various fresh ways to play, many regional cultural and tourism departments are also busy finding alternative paths, catching topics, attracting attention, and drawing in customer traffic.

    Previously popular scenic spots and cities each have their “echoes” in this May Day holiday.

    Recently, Henan Kaifeng Wansuishan Great Song Martial Arts City, where “Matchmaker Wang Po” is located, announced that Zhao Mei, the actress playing “Wang Po,” had taken a month off and would be replaced by other actors during this period. The popularity of the scenic spot has not been affected by this, with tickets sold out for two consecutive days.

    Zibo, which became popular last year for its barbecue, and Tianshui, which went viral in March for its spicy noodles, have both welcomed another wave of visitors. Similar to the spicy noodle shop owner in Tianshui, the pancake vendor in Zibo who became an internet celebrity due to his failure to maintain a smiling expression from exhaustion has become Zibo’s new internet celebrity. After being “interviewed” like the noodle shop owner, the vendor has to squeeze out a smile while busy working, and has even been jokingly called “conditioned to smile upon seeing people” by netizens. Maijishan Scenic Area in Tianshui even urgently announced on May 2 that all kinds of tickets for May 3 had been sold out.

    Having bid farewell to the ice and snow, Harbin welcomes the opening of the Ice and Snow World Zhile Valley Amusement Park on May 2. On May 1, the Harbin Songhua River Light Show officially debuted at the Flood Control Memorial Tower. Harbin once again welcomes a peak in tourists this holiday. In terms of railways, Harbin sent 524,000 passengers on May 1, of which Harbin Station sent 113,000 passengers, both setting new historical records for the same period. After setting a record on December 31 last year, the passenger flow on the Harbin Metro network reached a new high of 1.4094 million on May 1.

    Attracting attention before the holiday and “retaining guests” during this holiday

      More cultural and tourism departments are also trying all sorts of methods to attract the attention of young netizens.

      “The first thing I do after taking office today is to sincerely invite everyone to visit the World Horticultural Expo in Chengdu during May Day.” A week before May Day, Chengdu’s cultural and tourism department officially announced that the giant panda “Huahua” had taken office as the “Honorary Director of Chengdu Cultural Tourism.” Chengdu’s cultural and tourism department even solemnly announced the resume of the new director “Huahua”: “Cheng Hehua, female, 3 years and 9 months old, Sichuan Chengdu bear, full-time doctoral student at kindergarten…

      This move indeed attracted the attention of netizens. As the “top stream female celebrity” among pandas, Huahua has made a great contribution to creating the “panda economy” for Chengdu. According to public information, during the 2023 “May Day” holiday, driven by Huahua, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, which was visited by 264,000 tourists, ranked second among the top ten popular tourist attractions nationwide. Some netizens even calculated that Huahua contributes 49.2 billion yuan in direct or indirect income to Chengdu’s tourism industry in a year.

      Not only Chengdu’s Huahua but also videos represented by “cat meme” narratives such as “Can this cat do it?” and “It’s on fire” have circulated again on social media and short video accounts of cultural and tourism departments in many places. Using red-hot kitten GIFs such as the happily clapping “happy cat,” the woeful-faced “aggrieved cat,” and the flexibly shaking belly “dancing cat”… paired with scenes of various scenery, attractions, and recommended tourism items in the region, along with sound effects and humorous text, these videos have become attraction recommendation videos with built-in traffic passwords. And the recently popular “classic pose reenactment” on short video platforms has made the efforts of Nanchong and Chongqing’s cultural and tourism departments noticed by young people.

      In addition, immersive “travel costume change” experiences such as Luoyang’s peonies, Fujian’s hairpins, Xi’an’s Tang style, Yanbian’s “Yanji Princess,” and Handan’s Warring States robes are in high demand. Retro or artistic destinations are still the first choice for travel photography. Since April, the search volume for “Hanfu makeup” has increased by 136% compared to the same period last year. Some netizens even “follow” the steps of variety shows, such as going to the Pozi Street Police Station in Changsha to take a “squatting in the corner” photo.

      Food is also an indispensable part of travel, and some netizens’ journeys are “taste bud tours.” The “Zhengding Night Market,” which covers an area of more than 10,000 square meters and has more than 600 stalls, became popular in April. Meituan data shows that in the past two weeks, the search popularity of “Zhengding Night Market” has increased 13 times compared to the previous two weeks. Driven by this, Zhengding has also been selected as a popular county-level tourism city by multiple online travel platforms.

      There are many small and medium-sized cities like Zhengding that focus on “taste bud tours” and “food tours.” Meituan data shows that during the “May Day” holiday, the number of hotel reservations in cities known for their food, such as Tianshui, Zibo, Taizhou, Liuzhou, Chaozhou, and Yanji, has increased significantly.

      The number of cross-regional travelers nationwide reached nearly 316 million on May 1

        The various efforts made in advance have obviously paid off in this May Day holiday. Not only do searches for the keyword “May Day” first show news about scenic spots in various places and tourists flooding in, but many places have also reported “record highs” in terms of the number of tourists received and tourism consumption. Even the top spots on the hot search lists of various platforms are often occupied by people and events encountered during travel.

        Data released by the Ministry of Transport on May 2 shows that on May 1, the number of cross-regional travelers nationwide reached 315.742 million, an increase of 54.7% from the previous day, 30.3% higher than the same period in 2019, and 16% higher than the same period in 2023.

        In terms of popular cities, the 12306 train ticket pre-sale heat map shows that central cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou have a relatively large net outflow of people; while Luoyang, Chaozhou, Dali, Fuyang, and Handan have a relatively large net inflow of tourists.

        According to Meituan data, as of April 24, the number of cultural and tourism reservation orders (including scenic spots, accommodation, transportation, etc.) for the “May Day” holiday increased by more than 190% week-on-week, with Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, Changsha, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing,

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