Boom in staycations boosts economy

Tue, Oct 16, 2012, 01:00

WE’VE FOCUSED before about attracting outbound tourists from China, but the government here is determined to boost domestic consumption.

Home-grown tourism is booming so much, in fact, that some analysts see it as evidence that the Chinese economy is indeed heading for a “soft landing”.

During the National Day holiday this month, 34.2 million tourists visited the 119 major tourist sites monitored by China’s National Tourism Administration, which marks a 21 per cent increase over the eight-day holiday period.

“In our view, the official tourism data indicate that the responsiveness of consumers towards the government’s holiday policy measures remain resilient, and the willingness of the public to pursue leisure and tourism remains robust,” said Crédit Suisse chief regional economist for Asia Pacific Tao Dong.

“We think this is consistent with our ‘soft-landing’ view of the Chinese economy. The extent of congestion frequently reported is consistent with our view that the non-manufacturing sector offers new areas for efficiency gains and new opportunities for growth,” said Tao.

A big factor behind the boom in this year’s Golden Week holiday was the combination of the National Day holiday and the Mid-Autumn Festival, which gave it an extra day.

Also, authorities reduced admission fees at 80 tourist hot spots by an average of 37 per cent, and got rid of tolls on motorways for small vehicles during the break.