The coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it’s otherwise known, has caused unprecedented impacts around the globe as it spread worldwide as a pandemic. Whilst its origins in the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China back in late 2019 saw the country initially devastated by lockdowns and infractions on travel that caused great disturbance to many people’s Chinese New Year 2020 plans, the country has been one of the first for life to return to normal. Now with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is integral to the Chinese calendar, in full swing, the question looms: how will the coronavirus affect China’s Golden Week holiday?
Whilst the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus has been widely praised and criticised from both sides, it stands that life has returned mostly back to normal for much of China, something the government is keen to stress to its people. Despite low numbers of coronavirus numbers currently, the country is still suffering from the negative economic impacts of the virus and its spread worldwide, meaning the income expected from tourism during this year’s Golden Week is eagerly anticipated. It’s been estimated by the popular travel booking site, Ctrip, that around 600 million people will travel in 2020, around 20 percent less than in 2019.
What is the China Golden Week Holiday?
China’s Golden Week holiday was first conceived in the year 2000 to celebrate the commemoration of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) back in 1949. It was instigated in an attempt to expand the domestic tourist market, a notably successful endeavour by the government as reported travel numbers for the period of the first week in October has grown exponentially in this time. The holiday, from the 1st – 7th October is set each year to coincide with the Lunar New Year, or Mid-Autumn Festival and saw over 700 million people travelling in 2017 – 25 times more than the 28 million of people that travelled in its first instance in 1999.