Published just before the seven-day holiday period universally known as Golden Week began on Oct. 1 with China’s National Day, two analyses reported that the number of Chinese traveling to the United States during the holiday in October was expected to rise remarkably, in keeping with an expected overall increase for the whole year. As detailed in China Daily, when last measured by one company (lvmama.com, a major online travel booking platform) bookings were triple the number from last year. Ni Jiali, general manager of lvmama.com’s outbound tourism department, said the rise resulted from beneficial tourism policies adopted by both China and the USA.
Such factors as the mutual approval of visas allowing multiple entries within 10 years and the launch of new direct flights between the two countries are also making a difference, according to Yu Wenjun, director of US travel for Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency.
Bookings at Ctrip for travel to the USA during the weeklong holiday increased by 40 percent over the same period last year, making the USA the fourth-favorite destination for Chinese tourists during the holiday. The first three destinations are all neighboring destinations— Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
In another report, the London-based research group Forward Keys said that advance bookings for Chinese travelers visiting the USA were up 8.1 percent for an extended period (September 21st to October 7th) covering 2016 National Day/Golden Week, a better performance than other long-haul destinations (up 3.5 percent).
Chinese departures to the USA spread more evenly along the entire busy period in 2016, with two weekends before the Golden Week (Sep 22nd to 24th and Sep 29th to Oct 1st) seeing busy departures. While last year’s departures were crowded from Sep 22nd to 26th, thanks to the Mid-Autumn Festival proximity to the Golden Week.
On the book* departures from China to the USA prior & during Golden Week, Daily†
* Arrivals “on the book” refer to the number of airline passengers arriving at the destination within a specific future time frame according to the bookings that have been issued as noted.
† Arrivals/Departures on The Book: On the book departures from September 9th to October 9th 2016 vs. same period in 2015, as of September 24th 2016 . “Busy Period”: On the book departures from September 21st to October 7th 2016 vs. same period in 2015, as of September 24th.
Golden Week USA Hot Spots: Enjoying 26.9 percent of Chinese visitors on the book, Los Angeles remains as the leading destination city in the USA for Chinese travelers. New York City was quickly catching up as more Chinese travelers choose NYC as their entry point of USA—up 22.5 percent compared to the same period last year.
Some secondary destinations, like Washington DC, Boston or Honolulu, were expected to see fewer Chinese visitors from mid-September to early October, as the average length of trip shortened due to the Mid-Autumn festival date shift. Orlando’s impressive increase (+170.9 percent), possibly thanks to Shanghai Disney opening up.
Which were the hot spots during the busy period?
Market share of Chinese visitors and % YoY change.
On average, this year Chinese tourists were expected to stay between six and nine nights in the chosen destinations. Mid-Autumn’s Festival holiday shift (from Sept. 27, 2015 to Sep 15, 2016) shortened this year’s average length of stay—down from stays of 10 to 12 nights.
A note on the methodology: The analysis was based on Air Reservation Data property of ForwardKeys® as of 24th September 2016. Database contains reservations handled by more than 200 000 online and offline travel agencies worldwide.