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May Day tourism surge boosts confidence of intl trade partners

By ZHENG YIRAN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-07 20:52

Tourists visit the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, on May 2, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

Reviving consumption demand, surging tourist numbers and strong retail sales during the May Day holiday further consolidate multinational hotel groups' confidence in continuing to invest in the world's second-largest economy.

During the five-day holiday, Marriott International Inc reported its first quarter 2024 results. During the report period, its comparable system-wide constant dollar revenue per available room (RevPAR) — a measure of the average revenue earned for each room available in the hotel — increased 4.2 percent worldwide, 1.5 percent in the United States and Canada, and 11.1 percent in international markets, compared to Q1 in 2023.

Specifically, in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, Q1 comparable system-wide constant dollar RevPAR reached $76.87 million, 6 percent higher than the level in 2023. Top destinations including Beijing, Shenzhen in Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macao, had achieved outstanding performance, the Q1 report showed.

Meanwhile, in the first three months, occupancy rose 2.3 percentage points year-on-year to 64.4 percent, while average daily rates grew 2.2 percentage points yearly to $119.33 million in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, said the report.

Anthony Capuano, president and chief executive officer of the group, said: "We were pleased with our results in the quarter, which included both excellent net room growth and cash generation… Our international markets were particularly strong."

As of the end of March, Marriott International Group operates more than 530 hotels with roughly 161,000 rooms in the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, according to the company.

With a 1.4 billion population, China's huge consumption market gives multinational hotel conglomerates like Marriott much confidence. Apart from first-tier cities, they are also further expanding their footprints in the country's second- and third-tier cities.

IHG Hotels & Resorts announced earlier that it plans to open new hotels in Zhengzhou, Shijiazhuang, as well as Xiangyang in Hubei province.

Frederick Wong, vice-president of commercial at Hyatt Hotels Corp Greater China, told Chinese media that Hyatt is expected to open 10 or more new hotels in the Chinese mainland this year, covering popular travel destinations like Shanghai, Changsha, Kunming and Zhuhai.

According to the Ministry of Transport, China saw more than 1.3 billion trips during the 5-day May Day holiday, which concluded on Sunday.

The country witnessed an average of 271.69 million trips everyday, an increase of 23.7 percent compared with the same period in 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic, or a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent, said the ministry.

The statistics demonstrated the growing diversity of both passenger source and travel destinations. With the gradual revitalization of the economy, the country's tourism consumption potential is expected to be further released, said Wang Yalei, an analyst from the research center of Trip.com.

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