More Chinese headed abroad during Chinese New Year

PHOTO: The Business Times

An increasing number of Chinese are opting for spending Spring Festival overseas, according to a report by Mafengwo, a major tourist information-sharing website, released on Tuesday.

Tourism destinations around the globe are expected to see nearly 40 per cent more Chinese tourists during the Spring Festival holiday that begins on Feb 7, possibly the highest number on record, despite the holiday traditionally being a season for family reunions.

"It's a new fashion to spend Spring Festival abroad traveling instead of gathering with families and relatives,' said Ma Yutao, head of Mafengwo's data centre.

"Packages for independent tourists in Asian destinations witnessed a 600 per cent increase this year, with Thailand, Japan and South Korea especially popular with Chinese travelers."

A report by Mafengwo shows that nine of the 10 most popular overseas destinations are in Asia, including Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

According to Mafengwo, many choose to go abroad during the Festival as they find the seven-day vacation too precious, while loosened visa requirements for Chinese, more convenient flight connections and preferential policies to ease overseas travel also facilitate the increase.

"Countries like Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Vietnam have a simplified visa application process for Chinese, which will encourage more trips abroad," Ma said.

Chinese outbound tourists also saw an increase in spending, with online booking per capita for overseas independent trips up 30 per cent to 6,800 yuan this year, Mafengwo said,

Figures from the China National Tourism Administration reveal that Chinese tourists paid more than 120 million visits overseas in 2015, with 5.18 million of those paid to foreign countries and regions during Spring Festival. That's an increase of 10 per cent year-on-year.

"People used to care about the price more, but now they focus more on the quality of the trips," Ma said.

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