Some 6 million Chinese tourists will travel abroad for the upcoming National Day holiday, with more destinations emerging as new favorites, travel business operators and experts said on Sept 6.
“Chinese tourists no longer only select traditional hot journey places such as Thailand, the United States and Japan to spend their holidays. Countries such as Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand and Peru have all become a new attraction,” said Jiang Yiyi, director of the International Tourism Research Institute with the China Tourism Academy.
Shanghai-based Ctrip.com International Ltd, a Nasdaq-listed travel agency, predicted in a recent report that 650 million Chinese will travel in the eight-day Golden Week holiday from Oct 1 to 8, among whom about 6 million will choose to go abroad, setting a record.
“Popular TV shows such as Game of Thrones have become a new pull in overseas tourism,” said Shi Yuduan, chief marketing officer of Ctrip’s vacation business department. “We have seen a staggering 300 percent rise in the number of tourists going to Croatia year-on-year. There is also a strong growth in Czech Republic, Iceland, Spain and Northern Ireland, too, where the HBO TV series was filmed.”
She said packages featuring cruises, diving, camping, plastic surgery, shooting, casinos, safaris and other sports are all popular options for Chinese consumers as they have diversified the ways they conduct holiday activities.
Exotic landscapes and immersive culture experiences also attract Chinese tourists.
An Li, vice-president of Airbnb China, said ecotourism in Brazil, especially its rain forests and wetlands, has aroused more interest from Chinese tourists for home-sharing services, with the number doubling from last year. China also is the biggest source of rental service users among all the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa.
Ctrip’s report also pointed out that most of its users choose to travel for four to six days, while a growing number of tourists prefer to travel longer. A quarter of Ctrip customers chose to travel between seven and 10 days, up 140 percent year-on-year, and 13 percent prefer more than 10 days, up 300 percent from a year earlier.
“I booked my trip to Greece for this Golden Week for 11 days, and I don’t have a solid travel plan in Greece but simply will do whatever or go wherever I feel like,” said Xu Jinhao, 26. “I don’t want to join a group coach trip to 15 European countries on a tight schedule within 10 days like what used to be favored. I’d rather spend more time to understand a country from all aspects.”
Domestic destinations are also getting more popular. According to the China National Tourism Administration, 593 million tourists traveled during this period in 2016, up 12.8 percent year-on-year. It generated 482.2 billion yuan ($73.9 billion) in revenue in all areas, up 14.4 percent year-on-year.