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2014 Chinese New Year sales: Xi'an

Photo: Spring Festival temple fair at Small Wild Goose Pagoda. (Courtesy of Xinhua News Agency)
Spring Festival temple fair at Small Wild Goose Pagoda.

HKTDC's mainland offices, namely in Beijing, Dalian, Qingdao, Xi'an, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Shenzhen, made market visits to high-end, mid-high end and mid-range shopping centres in their cities a week after the Chinese New Year to find out how holiday sales have fared this year.

According to statistics, from 31 January to 6 February 2014, the city of Xi’an had 4,768,000 visitors, up 21.22% year-on-year. Total income from tourism was Rmb2.203 billion, up 20.5% year-on-year. For the second year in a row, Xi’an was among the 10 most popular Chinese cities for tourism during the Spring Festival Golden Week.

One of China’s top 10 tourist cities

One after another, the traditional scenic spots in Xi’an organised colourful Spring Festival activities closely linked to the theme of festival celebrations and rich in cultural connotations. The Tang Paradise presented a series of temple fairs and lantern parties known as “The Chinese Dream and Silk Road Passion”, Xi’an Qinling Wildlife Park hosted a temple fair, and Xi’an City Wall staged cultural activities with the theme of “I Have a Date with Spring”. Together they attracted a large number of tourists. Other scenic spots including Xi’an Lintong National Tourism & Resort Area, Tang West Market, Xi’an Museum, Xi’an Louguan Chinese Taoism Culture Exhibition Area, Caotang Temple in Hu County, Guangren Temple in Lianhu District, and Chenghuang Temple organised a series of activities comprising traditional folklore and temple fairs. Open to the public free of charge during the peak hours of the festival, these attracted large numbers of tourists as well as local people.

Among the venues, visitor numbers and their year-on-year growth rates are as follows: Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum (151,183, +37.06%), Huaqing Hot Spring (68,827, +31.86%), Shaanxi History Museum (57,739, +78.9%); Xi’an Beilin Museum (13,970, +33%); the scenic area of Da Ci’en Temple and Big Wild Goose Pagoda (32,600, +29%), Xi’an Qinling Wildlife Park (38,200, +32.29%), and Xi’an City Wall scenic area (62,579, +51.22%).

Free-admission scenic spots and spa/ski tours draw big crowds

During the Spring Festival Golden Week, the free-admission scenic spots were highly popular and filled with festive fun and excitement. Self-drive and independent travel continued to be the main modes of holiday travel, and the major tourist spots attracted large numbers of visitors. Spa tours and ski tours were extremely popular with tourists. Cuihua Mountain received 10,846 visitors, up 369.73% year-on-year, and Bishuiwan Hot Spring in Lantian County received 43,000 visitors, up 112.8% year-on-year.

Ranked among most popular tourist destinations for Spring Festival

Since last year, Xi’an has embarked on an intensive campaign to promote tourism in mainstream media such as CCTV, and has launched a variety of tourism projects and activities targeting the major holidays. As a result, the appeal of Xi’an as a tourist attraction has been enhanced, to the extent that even the traditionally slack winter season is not slack any more.

According to statistics from Xi’an Tourism Bureau, among the total of 4,768,000 visitors during the Golden Week period, there were 787,600 overnight visitors, up 13% year-on-year, and 3,980,400 day trippers, up 23% year-on-year. Both visitor number and income from tourism made new records for the city this year.

According to user polls on popular travel website ctrip.com, Xi’an was voted the 10th most popular destination for domestic travel and the 8th most popular destination for independent travel during the 2014 Spring Festival Golden Week. Both the main news and night news programmes on CCTV have carried stories about this year’s Spring Festival celebrations in Xi’an.

Total sales in excess of Rmb10 billion

The retail market in Xi’an was full of vitality, goods were rich in variety and abundant in supply, and sales were up amid the festive atmosphere in the city’s main shopping streets and commercial districts during the holiday period. Total retail sales for the Golden Week are estimated to have increased by 14% year-on-year to top Rmb10.57 billion.

Brisk sales in food and beverage

During the Spring Festival, the major commercial enterprises in Xi’an organised a variety of promotion activities to attract customers and stimulate consumption. During the holidays, leading commercial enterprises like Kaiyuan, Minsheng, Parkson and China Resources Vanguard recorded daily customer flow of over 80,000 persons. Hot items like clothing and jewellery were selling well: sales of ladies’ wear went up 40.5% year-on-year, fashion jewellery went up more than 60%, and expensive watches and jewellery went up 28.7%. Sales of festive goods such as tobacco, alcohol, candies, nuts and beverages at supermarkets such as China Resources Vanguard and Renrenle increased by over 15%.

New Year’s Eve dinners and family gatherings were in great demand, and turnover was steadily rising. Total turnover of the catering industry for the Spring Festival Golden Week was estimated to be about Rmb830 million, up 9.2% year-on-year. According to surveys on 15 leading catering enterprises in Xi’an, sales revenue increased by 9.56% year-on-year. During the holidays, a number of restaurants including the ones in Bell Tower Hotel, Xinhuafu Hotel and Wan Nian Grand Hotel adjusted their style and provided innovative services such as fast food counters and a series of mid-range dinners for New Year’s Eve, reunions and other festive gatherings. These were well liked by consumers and helped stimulate sales. Fast food items with a strong local Shaanxi flavour were a new highlight, with takeaway sales of such items recording an increase of over 20% year-on-year. Self-drive holidaymakers and visitors on short stays brought good business to farm-style restaurants and eateries. On the other hand, due to factors in the external environment, turnover of the high-end catering sector recorded a decrease of about 20% year-on-year.

Colourful temple fairs and abundant supply of food items

During the Spring Festival, the city organised many temple fairs with traditional cultural characteristics, bringing colour and enrichment to people’s daily lives. These fairs were estimated to have attracted a total audience of almost 6 million people. Meanwhile, apart from the traditional vacation hot spots, outdoor sports such as skiing and ice-skating were becoming popular. Flower markets were doing good business. Also, there was an obvious increase in the number of people buying books and reading books. Diversity of vacation activities became the new trend in holiday consumption.

Wei Xinhe, Xi'an Office

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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