Labor Day holiday spending on the Alipay platform surged by 70% compared with 2019

During the 2023 Labor Day holiday travel boom, from April 29 to May 1, the first three days of the five-day bank holiday in China, overall spending of Chinese consumers using the Alipay platform for travel-related purchases surged by 70% compared with the same period in 2019 before Covid hit. Those purchases include payments to merchants in the cultural and tourism, hotel, transportation, and dining industries.


As travel demand peaks during the holiday, the number of transactions made by Alipay users for transportation, such as taking a bus or riding a shared bike, rose to 220% of the level seen in 2019. In addition, the number of searches for “renting a car” and “electric vehicle charging” in the Alipay app increased to 240% and 300% of the levels seen in 2022, respectively.


Apart from the usual popular tourist destinations, lesser-known cities in China offering unique experiences are increasingly becoming the preferred choice for young people to discover. For example, Zibo, a third-tier city located in Shandong province and renowned for its barbecue, experienced a surge in business during the first three days of the 2023 Labor Day holiday. In comparison to 2022, Zibo witnessed a remarkable 500% increase in payment volume made via Alipay at barbecue outlets and a 200% increase for hotels.


The thriving travel industry is also creating new job opportunities. On the Alipay platform, there has been a 60% increase in the number of searches for travel industry related jobs, such as openings for a homestay manager, from April 21 to April 30 compared with the same period in March. 


According to the China Tourism Academy, Chinese travelers are expected to make 240 million trips during the 2023 Labor Day holiday, surpassing the pre-Covid level seen in 2019. The Labor Day holiday is a major holiday in China with many individuals taking the opportunity to travel.


As the domestic travel industry continues to thrive, outbound travel among Chinese tourists is also gaining momentum. During the holiday period, the average spending of outbound Chinese travelers who used Alipay witnessed a 40% increase in comparison to 2019.


During the 2023 Labor Day holiday, Asian destinations remained popular among outbound Chinese tourists. Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Japan, Thailand, and Korea held the top five position in terms of transaction volume on Alipay. Singapore and Malaysia ranked sixth and ninth respectively.


However, tourist destinations located at a farther distance are also quickly gaining traction, with France ranking seventh and Australia eighth on the list.


The average spending of Chinese tourists in popular European destinations, such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, has more than doubled during this holiday period as compared to 2019. This surge in spending highlights the growing popularity of European destinations among Chinese travelers.




Data is from April 29 to May 1, 2023, the first three days of the five-day Labor Day holiday, unless otherwise stated.

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