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National Day tourism to set new records

Yang Feiyue
Updated: Sep 28,2016 7:13 AM     China Daily

An annual mass migration of vacationers is set to reach new heights this year.

Nearly half of China is expected to travel during the upcoming National Day holiday.

The country’s tourists are forecast to spend a fortune over the weeklong period, which starts on Oct 1.

Roughly 590 million Chinese will tour during the vacation, up 12 percent over last year, a late September China Tourism Academy report says.

Tourism revenue is projected to grow 13.5 percent to reach 478.2 billion ($71.7 billion). That’s 800 yuan ($120) per capita.

Domestic and outbound tourism markets have experienced brisk supply and demand, China’s biggest online agency, Ctrip, reports.

“Most domestic and outbound routes’ prices have stayed steady,” Ctrip’s publicity director Peng Liang says.

“Some even dropped.”

Many routes were booked by over 10,000 tourists, Peng says.

The Yangtze River Delta Area, including Zhejiang’s provincial capital, Hangzhou, and Shanghai, are expected to receive record numbers.

A new Disneyland recently opened in Shanghai. Hangzhou recently hosted the G20 Summit.

Traditionally popular destinations, such as Hainan province’s Sanya, Sichuan province’s Jiuzhaigou Valley and Yunnan province’s Lijiang, will continue to embrace waves of tourists.

While figures for outbound travel bookings from China aren’t yet available, they’re expected to exceed last year’s.

Outbound travel surged 14 percent to exceed 4 million tourists last National Day holiday, the Shanghai-based tourism-consulting service Gold Palm reports.

The Chinese passport’s growing weight, the expansion of flight routes and exchange-rate fluctuations have continued to buoy China’s outbound tourism over recent years.

Chinese can enjoy visa-free entry or visas on arrival in 57 countries and regions.

Those that recently relaxed visas, such as Morocco, Tunisia and Tonga, have seen the influx of Chinese visitors increase 300-600 percent, Ctrip reports.

The increase in flights to neighboring nations like Japan has pushed down prices.

Long-haul destinations, including France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia, are 20-30 percent cheaper than during the holiday last year. The number of Chinese visitors is expected to increase 40-60 percent, Ctrip says.

The pound’s depreciation, following the Brexit, continues to boost Chinese travel to the UK.

Chinese are expected to visit South Korea for shopping and health checkups.

They’ll head to Japan to enjoy hot springs and red maple leaves. But the rise of the yen against the yuan may put a damper on retail.

Still, the holiday seems set to qualify as a “golden week”, as it has long been colloquially known, not only for travelers but also for destinations.