—May Day holiday travel to USA is up 85 percent! According to the Chinese-language newspaper The Mirror, the number of Chinese tourists who have planned to travel abroad during the upcoming May Day holiday (April 30-May 2) has increased by 130 percent over last year, with a dramatic increase in those seeking out European and U.S. destinations. Figures from the travel and tourism site LY.com indicated that Chinese travelers who booked European routes grew by 91 percent for the brief holiday, while planned trips to the U.S. surged by 85 percent. Trips to Dubai and South Africa increased by 60 percent year-on-year. A significant rise was also registered in travel to Japan and South Korea. The Y.com numbers also show that 30 percent of tourists booked airline tickets 10 days prior to their trips.
—Enda Curran, a Bloomsberg News writer, thinks that China’s overseas tourism bonanza is starting to resemble the unleashing of Japanese visitors on the world following the yen’s appreciation in the mid-1980s. “Except,” he adds in an April 12th article, “unlike the Japanese boom that began to deflate with the economy in the 1990s, China’s outbound push — already 120 million strong a year — shows no signs of abating. A vast rural population still to urbanize and a rapidly expanding middle class will underpin a dramatic expansion of overseas travel, according to analysis by Natixis SA.”
He continues, “In both the Japanese and Chinese cases, rising household wealth has been the catalyst for a shift in spending ‘to more sophisticated goods and services, with overseas tourism being one of the preferred ones,’ Natixis economists led by Alicia Garcia Herrero wrote in a note. ‘A strong currency has also supported’ this.”
Curran noted that around half of China’s 1.38 billion people are classed as poor, with an annual income between zero and $3,000, and most live in rural areas. “The government,” he said, “wants to move an additional 81 million residents into urban zones by 2020, a policy set to further bolster demand for outbound travel.”