An estimated 6 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad during the upcoming Spring Festival holidays (January 27 to February 2), a record high for a weeklong holiday, according to a report by the online travel agency Ctrip.
“China’s Spring Festival holidays … will be a global Golden Week,” the company said. The 10 most popular destinations are: Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, USA, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.
Given the unstable political situation in South Korea and the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, Chinese enthusiasm for that country has cooled, Zhang Lingyun, director of the Tourism Development Academy at Beijing Union University, told the Global Times of China (GlobalTimes.cn). However, the number of Chinese traveling to Southeast Asian countries, especially the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, is on the rise mainly due to low costs and geographical advantage, he said.
Besides, bookings for long-haul destinations have peaked, with the U.S. and Australia as the most popular, according to the report, which said that U.S. travel packages for NBA games, outlet shopping or visits to Hawaii are popular.
Although it costs more to travel during the peak season, prices are about the same as they were last year, the report noted. That is due to an increase in the number of flights, advanced purchase of travel packages and travel agency discounts.
The cost of traveling to Thailand, the U.S. and the Philippines is 5 to 15 percent higher than last year. However, it’s cheaper to travel to South Korea, Singapore and Italy, down 10-30 percent from the previous year, said the report.
Easier visa application requirements, more flights and lower prices have induced overseas travel, according to the report.
“After the U.S., Canada and Singapore granted 10-year visas to Chinese, Israel and Australia followed suit. In addition, Thailand reduced its visa fees for Chinese visitors in December, January and February,” a travel agent surnamed Chen at domestic online travel agency lümama.com, said in a statement sent to the Global Times.