Parent-child bookings increase as industry sees post-pandemic rebound
This year's International Children's Day which falls on Thursday was special for Zhang Moxin, a primary school student from Beijing, as she went on a trip with her parents to Luoyang, Henan province.
Zhang's mother said they hoped to give the girl a perfect childhood, so for the first time, they organized a tour for the festival.
"We will taste local specialties and try out hanfu (a traditional Chinese style of clothing)," the mother said.
Data from the travel portal Tuniu showed that among its users who booked trips for this weekend, 46 percent travel with children.
Family tours have become a popular way to celebrate International Children's Day, driving a small tourism boom during this weekend, said industry experts.
While most tourists opted to travel locally or to nearby cities, families with preschool children preferred long-haul trips, according to Tuniu. The most favored destinations included Shanghai, Beijing, Sanya in Hainan and Lijiang in Yunnan province.
In terms of travel method, tourists gave priority to self-travel tours and small-sized tour groups.
Small groups allow travelers to have a thorough tour rather than cursory sightseeing and meet families' demand for privacy, comfort and freedom, industry analysts said.
Naturally, theme parks such as Shanghai Disney Resort became a popular choice for families with kids during this weekend.
Domestic travel service and social networking platform Mafengwo reported that the average popularity of theme parks in China increased about 50 percent during this week.
Of them, the theme park operator Fantawild is holding a variety of celebrations from Thursday to Sunday in nearly 20 Fantawild Adventure resorts across the country, including fireworks shows, float parades, competitions and stage performances.
Museums and historical sites also saw a surge in booking numbers as parents hope their children can gain not only happiness but learning during the trips.
Chen Yihang, a mother from Hubei province, traveled with her 10-year-old son to Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, on Saturday.
The tour was his Children's Day gift, Chen said.
"We plan to go to the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor which he has learned about from books and wanted to visit in person," she added. The attraction is renowned for terra cotta warriors from the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).
Many travel agencies also diversified their study tour products and provided customized services.
Launched by the online travel agency Ctrip, the two-day study tour in Dunhuang, Gansu province features three major scenic spots including the Mogao Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dunhuang Museum, and the Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring.
Kids can learn about the history of Dunhuang, participate in activities, such as mural copying with their parents, and admire a sunset in the desert, according to Ctrip.
In addition, every group consists of two families at most and offers a study tour mentor and photographer.
Figures from the OTA showed that during the first five months of 2023, the number of parent-child tour orders rose about 150 percent year-on-year. Parent-child tourism is prospering, as the overall tourism market has rebounded, said analysts from the OTA.
The main consumers are parents of the post-1980 and post-90 generations, who have higher demand for tour products as consumption upgrades and educational philosophy changes, analysts said.
They pay close attention to the details of travel arrangements such as safety, accommodation and food for kids. Meanwhile, they require more activities during the trips that involve not only children but the family.