Retail Sales and Travel Surged During Golden Week

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BEIJING ( -- Over 228 million Chinese left home during the first week of October, a national holiday marking the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic, a 28.5% increase year-on-year. They spent $14.75 billion on travel, up 26.4%.

Beijing was by far the top destination with 15 million visitors, a 59% year-on-year increase, followed by Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu, said Ctrip, a leading online travel service.

Retail sales during the holiday grew 18% over last year to $83 billion, mainly for spending on household electronics and appliances such as high definition TV sets, digital cameras, mobile phones and refrigerators. Wedding gifts also boosted up sales. Official figures aren't available yet but tens of thousands of couples decided the 60th anniversary holiday was an auspicious time to tie the knot.

This year marked the longest national holiday to date, because it coincided with Mid-Autumn Festival, a lunar holiday that usually falls later in October. Given the extra time, many Chinese headed overseas. Nearly 600,000 visited Hong Kong, while 420,000 tried their luck in Macau, a casino haven known as Asia's Las Vegas.

Source: Ministry of Commerce, Ctrip, China Briefing

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