China’s National Holiday Begins Amid Economic Recovery

China’s Super-Golden Week . . .

As October begins, China celebrates Golden Week, its second week-long national holiday of the year. Starting with China’s National Day on October 1, marking the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the week-long holiday will last until October 7. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival, the second most important celebration after the Chinese New Year, overlaps with National Day. Golden Week is traditionally an extremely busy time with an estimated 550 million citizens travelling to visit family, to take part in various celebrations around the country, or to go on vacation, domestically or abroad.

Of pandemic containment and air travel . . .

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak being largely under control in China, this year’s Golden Week will be an important test of China’s ability to prevent new outbreaks. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control has issued safety guidelines amid a worrying global COVID-19 situation and has advised against non-essential overseas trips. And with lower airfares, domestic air traffic volume is expected to reach a record high. Chinese travellers are said to be prioritizing Wuhan, the now fully-reopened epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Hainan Island and Macau, for this year’s holiday at the expense of traditional popular destinations in Southeast Asia and Europe.

The harbinger of economic recovery?

While consumer sentiment may be tepid this year, Golden Week is nonetheless likely to provide a short-term boost to China’s economy. Spending during last year’s Golden Week reached C$130 billion, and many forecasters hope for a return to last year’s numbers. The tourism industry, in particular, is placing high hopes on the week-long holiday as an opportunity to rebound. China is the first major economy to return to economic growth, although its early recovery is being driven principally by government-led spending and investment. China’s Golden Week will be a sign of the strength of its recovery.