Political Sessions Trigger Travel Peak to Beijing
BEIJING, March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Qunar, China’s largest online travel platform, released the 2012 “Two Sessions” Online Travel Consumption Report, pointing out that China’s upcoming annual gatherings for the Chinese government, commonly known as the “Two Sessions,” will spur a flurry of travel into the capital.
According to Qunar, the largest Chinese travel site in the world, both hotel bookings and flights to Beijing will dramatically rise during the 23 days between February 20 and March 14 this year.
Political gatherings spark travel to Beijing
Qunar’s statistics show that during the same period last year, average daily bookings of flights to Beijing increased by 10.7 percent compared to January 2011, which excludes the week of Chinese New Year. The average daily bookings of hotel rooms in Beijing rose 16.7 percent compared with the previous month.
“The annual political two sessions have become a force, gathering people in Beijing and stimulating consumption,” said Jenna Qian, Qunar’s Deputy General Manager. “During the two-week political events, not only deputies of the National People’s Congress and members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference will gather in Beijing, their entourages, journalists and other people who plan to visit Beijing will also head to the political center, forming a small peak in the travel market in Beijing.”
A city with a rich history and cultural heritage, Beijing attracts hundreds of millions of tourists every year. Tourism is one of the most important driving forces for Beijing’s local economy. According to the Beijing Municipal Administration of Tourism (BMAT), revenues from tourism in Beijing last year hit a historical high of 321.6 billion yuan, marking the first time that revenue from tourism in Beijing exceeded 300 billion yuan.
This year, BMAT set a higher target through promotions and by expanding tourism-related projects. Total revenue could increase by over 10 percent to 350 billion yuan.
A BMAT spokesperson said revenue of 350 billion yuan means total visits to Beijing should exceed 200 million and travel-related consumption, such as shopping and dining, should account for more than 25 percent of total retail sales of consumer goods in the capital.
Statistics show five trends in online bookings of flight and hotels in Beijing
1. Most of the online bookings of flights to Beijing in 2011 came from southwestern region:
According to statistics provided by Qunar, flight bookings to Beijing in 2011 from February to the end of the “Two Sessions” from southwestern provinces top the list. Among the top 10 cities for online bookings of flights to Beijing, four were from southwestern China: Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming and Guiyang. The six other cities were from eastern, southern and northwestern China.
That trend is continuing during the same period this year, with Chengdu, Chongqing and Kunming among the top 10. Shanghai surpassed Chengdu to take the top spot. Harbin, located in northeastern China, replaced Guiyang in the top 10.
2. People between the ages of 21 and 30 favor online booking
China’s thriving e-commerce is reshaping people’s consumption habits – one sector where there has been increasing spending is the online travel market.
According to Qunar, 42.13 percent of the online flight tickets bookings are made by the people between the ages of 21 and 30. People between the ages of 31 and 40 ranked second and the age bracket that booked the fewest amount of bookings were people older than 60.
3. Men prefer online booking more than women
Among online bookings for the period stated above, 51.6 percent were made by men, while 48.4 percent were from women.
4. Online hotel bookings peaked at the end of February and declined after the “Two Sessions”
From February 20 to March 14, 2011, the average number of daily hotel bookings in Beijing increased by 16.7 percent compared with the average number of daily bookings in January. Qunar statistics show that the total number of bookings began to rise on February 20 and peaked at the end of February. The total number was nearly twice the average number of daily bookings in January. At the end of the “Two Sessions”, hotel bookings began to decline.
5. Hotel prices near the venues where the annual government gatherings were held increased during the “Two Sessions”
According to Qunar, there are 3,041 hotels within 5 kilometers of the venues and hotels where delegates stayed. During the “two sessions”, some of these hotels have higher booking rate.
Qunar, founded in May 2005 and headquartered in Beijing, is the largest Chinese travel website in the world. The site has around 75 million monthly visits, according to iResearch. Working on helping travelers to make the best travel choice, Qunar organizes enormous information and provides thorough and instant search of flights, hotels, packages, group-buying deals, visa and other travel-related information by its accessible, humanistic and avant-garde technology.
Qunar’s search scope covers over 700 data sources, 150,000 hotels, and 15,000 domestic and international flight routes. Qunar also provides over 700 travel deals in more than 100 Chinese cities.
Qunar means “where to go” in Mandarin Chinese.