Hungry to travel

Updated 2018-03-12 13:47:05 China Daily

Chinese tourists encounter seals during their trip to Antarctica.

(Photo provided to China Daily)

Over the recent Spring Festival holiday, Chinese visitors went to 730 cities across 68 countries and regions. 

Chinese travelers are making their presence felt around the globe. They were expected to pay 6.5 million visits abroad over the recent Spring Festival holiday, and their footprints could be found in 730 cities across 68 countries and regions worldwide, the China National Tourism Administration reports.

Last year, the Chinese paid more than 130 million visits outside the mainland, representing a year-on-year growth of 7 percent, according to China tourism Academy.

Southeast Asia has seen the most visits by Chinese travelers with Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia among the most popular destinations.

Thailand received 9.8 million visits by the Chinese in 2017, according to Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports. Visitor numbers reached 313,000 during Spring Festival, a rise of 24.4 percent over the same period last year.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Chinese are warming up to long-distance travel destinations.

France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy have all seen a sizeable influx of Chinese visitors, many of whom go sightseeing on the Danube and the Rhine.

Countries that used to be considered not so popular, such as Luxembourg, Monaco and Andorra, are also gaining ground with sophisticated travelers.

At the same time, countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative are also drawing Chinese travelers.

The number of Chinese visitors to countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Cambodia grew by 16 percent during the holiday, according to a report by China Unionpay.

Currently, nearly 129 million Chinese have passports, and the number is growing, says the Ministry of Public Security.

Chinese travelers have also become the top spenders over the years, and accounted for approximately one fifth of the total consumption by global outbound travelers, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Chinese travelers spent 1 billion abroad in 2016, billion more than 2015.

U.S. travelers ranked second, and their consumption was half the Chinese spending.

Chinese travelers spent 1.4 million during Spring Festival, up 34.3 percent year-on-year.

But despite the top-spender tag, many Chinese now pay more attention to catering and recreational activities, says the China UnionPay report.

Chinese spending on recreation in Europe grew more than 20 percent year-on-year during the Spring Festival holiday.

And the Chinese are developing an appetite for tours featuring health preservation and culture and art appreciation, while earlier, they used to predominantly opt for shopping for luxury goods and sightseeing, says Zhang Yuhong, an official with the China Travel Service.

Self-drive tourism abroad is also becoming a big hit with Chinese travelers, half of whom were born in the mid-1980s and '90s, as shown by bookings through China's biggest online travel agency Ctrip.

The Chinese travel boom has prompted the host destinations to come up with new facilities for their guests.

For instance, Dubai has rolled out its China Ready program, where Chinese-language services at local restaurants, hotels and scenic spots are readily available.

The city received 764,000 visitors from China last year, a jump of 41 percent over the previous year, after it began offering free visas on arrival to Chinese citizens.

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