Chinese tourists ride elk-driven sleighs in a small forest in Finland. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Airbnb Inc, a United States-based home-sharing service provider, estimates that outbound travel by the company's Chinese mainland users will account for 71 percent of its total bookings during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, with Japan and Southeast Asia being the favorite destinations.[Special coverage]
Tokyo, Osaka, Bangkok and Kyoto are favored by Chinese mainland travelers, while Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Queenstown in New Zealand are among the top 10 outbound tourist destinations for the first time, according to Airbnb.
The peak season falls on Feb 17 and 18, the second and third day of the Lunar New Year, as Chinese tourists typically take a trip after finishing their family reunion dinners. The outbound family trips will take up 31 percent of total outbound travel.
Bangkok is the fastest-growing tourist destination for Chinese travelers, followed by Sydney. On average, Chinese travelers stay at the outbound listings of Airbnb for three days.
"We can see a consumption upgrade in tourism from the hot reservation of listings abroad. Chinese consumers have started to pursue high-quality travel, explore cultures of different countries and experience the local life," said An Li, vice-president of Airbnb China.
Meanwhile, inbound travel will witness an increase of 192 percent year-on-year during the Spring Festival, with diversified domestic destinations. Chengdu is the most popular destination in China, followed by Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing, Airbnb said.
With the advancement of infrastructure and service level in second-and third-tier cities, the domestic travel market is also booming, An added.
About 6.5 million people will travel overseas during Spring Festival, a record high, according to a report released by Beijing-based China Tourism Academy and online travel agency Ctrip. The report said tourist destinations cover 68 countries and regions, reaching as far as Antarctica.
Founded in August 2008 and based in San Francisco, Airbnb is a major player in the international sharing economy. There have been nearly 10 million guest arrivals by Chinese travelers on Airbnb since 2008, with more than half of those occurring in 2017 alone.
Nathan Blecharczyk, chairman of Airbnb China, said in an earlier interview with China Daily that the domestic market has been the company's fastest growing market around the world, and the country is also Airbnb's second fastest growing outbound market.
The company will open operations in several key cities and regions in 2018, with China projected to be the largest tourist source country for Airbnb by 2020.