Spring Festival holiday: Time to pack your bags and hit the road

Updated 2017-01-25 14:46:47 chinadaily.com.cn

Chinese people are more and more traveling rather than staying at home during the seven-day Spring Festival break.

This year, nearly 20 percent of all booked tour packages on Tuniu, an online travel agency based in Nanjing, start their trips on the eve or the first day of the New Year, according to a new report by the company.

Weather plays a factor in destination choices, and many families opt for warmer places that are away from polluted Chinese cities. Residents from Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang in Hebei province all chose Sanya as their top destinations to escape the cold and smoggy weather.

Other popular domestic traveling locations include Dali, Lijiang and Kunming in Yunnan province, along with Xiamen, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, the report said.

"Compared with previous years, Chinese are increasingly accustomed to going on trips, instead of staying at homes, during the Spring Festival break," said Alex Yan, COO of Tuniu Corp.

"Ski vacations are also gaining popularity, and Harbin jumped to the list of top five most popular domestic destinations this year," he said.

For outbound trips, Thailand and Japan continue to stay as popular choices for Chinese travelers, and European destinations, particularly France and Italy, have become increasingly appealing.

South Korea, which has been consistently listed as a popular choice for Chinese travelers in previous years, didn't appear on this year's top 10 list, according to the report.

Meanwhile, South America, Africa, and the Middle East have continued to attract more visitors from China. Morocco became the overseas destination with the fastest-growing popularity for Chinese, followed by Tunisia and Ecuador.

"Last June, Morocco granted Chinese tourists visa-free access to the country, and the number of booked trips to Morocco during the Spring Festival this year soared 130 times over last year. The growth in popularity of the country illustrated the power of visa-free policies," Yan said.

This year, about 4.88 billion individuals plan to travel in China, a 10 percent rise year-on-year. About 123 million individuals are expected to travel abroad, up 4 percent from a year ago, according to the forecast of the China National Tourism Administration.

Jane Zhang, a 28-year-old office worker in Beijing, said she plans to take a trip to Japan during the Spring Festival break. "I have been to Japan once, and I still like to visit other cities that I haven't been to. It attracts me with its beautiful sightseeing, various shopping choices, and proximity to China."

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