“Tourism + Sports” Promote Consumption Growth during Chinese Golden Week Holidays

“Tourism + Sports” Promote Consumption Growth during Chinese Golden Week Holidays

November 21, 2023
4 min read

The Asian Games was held in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou in October this year, coincided with China’s National Day that Chinese citizens enjoyed a week-long holiday (Golden Week) for it, which positively contributing to the overall increase in holiday spending, with a significant increase in airfare and hotel bookings to Hangzhou in particular.

Mintel report “Leisure Trends – China, 2023” reveals that Chinese consumers’ growing interest in physical and mental health and active lifestyles has ignited the public’s passion for sports and outdoor recreation. At the same time, sports events/trendy sports have become a strong driver of cultural tourism consumption. In addition, data from Mintel’s “China Consumer Monthly Tracker – August 2023” shows that live performances, sports events and outbound tours have demonstrated tremendous growth potential in the overall travel and leisure market.

Mintel’s senior travel and leisure analyst Shannon Liu shared her thoughts on the most popular travel and leisure experiences during the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou:

Immersive “event-oriented” experiences

Traditional travel products can hardly meet the needs of new consumer groups. Today’s consumers prefer a composite immersive experience. Tournament effect has given rise to the popularity of the same type of sports experience activities – during the China national holidays, the Thousand Islands Lake ride, Fuyang kayaking and other land and water sports sales increased sharply year-on-year.

Known as “the most beautiful water Asian Games venues,” Hangzhou Fuyang Aquatic Sports Center attracted many tourists who came to see the scenery on both sides of the Fuchun River through the lens of the game. Visitors can take a cruise on the “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” to experience the “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains” by Huang Gongwang.


Hangzhou Fuyang Water Sports Center (Drone photo)

Source: Xinhua News Agency, 2023

Explore the local culture around you

Embracing traditional culture has been one of the key drivers of consumer behavior in China in recent years, according to Mintel’s G36 consumer data. “Cultural tourism” has become a hot trend in the market after the full liberalization of the epidemic, and travel and leisure destinations that are rich in traditional Chinese and local ethnic cultures are especially popular among the younger generation. Cultural tourism brands can capitalize on this opportunity to build long-term and deep emotional connections with consumers, by constantly pushing the boundaries around the local culture and natural environment.

This time, Hangzhou launched 15 classic Asian Games-themed itineraries that included not only venue tours, but also themed routes that explored the surrounding culture and history, attracting many event spectators and tourists to visit the city and experience the unique local Chinese culture.


Source: Xinhua News Agency, photo by interviewee

What we think

Looking ahead, brands have the opportunity to create a variety of IP programs, such as “travel with big events”, so that more sports events or trendy sports can become new scenarios for cultural and tourism consumption.

According to the report “Sports among the youth – China, 2023”, China’s “sports fans” (i.e. consumers who are passionate about watching sports events or chasing after celebrity teams/athletes) are an audience that deserves brands’ attention. Among them, women aged 30-39 and fans of high-end sports such as tennis, motor racing and golf have a high willingness to spend, and they are enthusiastic about purchasing sports nutritional food, participating in brand-organized marketing (e.g., meet-the-star events) and community activities (e.g., sports clubs), as well as collecting peripheral merchandise. For these “sports fans”, sports is not just a leisure activity, but also a way to express their personality, values and tastes. Therefore, by co-branding/cooperating with the top athletes of these events, cultural tourism brands can also emphasize the unique quality, charm and influence of their brands.

Under the influence of the trend of national sports and healthy and energetic life, providing consumers with higher quality, more immersive, newer and more diversified “tourism + sports/outdoor sports” fusion products and brands is more likely to quickly capture business opportunities and market increment.

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