Spring Festival Reveals China’s Travel Preferences

on January 30 2012 | in Travel | by | with No Comments

cruise ship, Hong Kong

Now that China’s week-long Spring Festival holiday has wrapped up, analysts are gleeful to discover travel– both domestic and foreign – are on the up and up.

We are seeing some travel trends emerging during this holiday with more Chinese travelers wanting slower-paced leisure holidays that they can savor rather than the hustle and bustle shopping trips.

The National Holiday Tourism Office said on Saturday that more than 140,000 people left Shanghai to go abroad, up 20 percent year-on-year. In Suzhou, Jiangsu province, 6,690 people went overseas, up 36 percent, the agency said. The office, citing tourism authorities in South Korea, said 45,000 Chinese citizens visited that country during the holiday, up 30 percent year-on-year.

“Air fares and hotel rates were reasonable. Luxury goods from Europe or the US are 20 to 30 percent cheaper than in China. Cosmetics made in South Korea suit Chinese women and are quite affordable. Many shop assistants even speak Mandarin,” said a woman identified as Liu who visited Seoul from January 23 to 27.

Shen Zhangqi, sales director of a travel agency for cruises overseas, said cruise trips had become more popular, though prices went up 10 to 20 percent during the holiday.

The most popular cruise destinations included the Southeast Asian islands, which cost at least 12,000 yuan a person, and the Mediterranean and Caribbean, which cost 40,000 to 50,000 yuan a person.” Many passengers are high-end customers such as senior corporate managers. They have little free time through the year and want to enjoy some quality time and a luxury experience with their family during the Spring Festival,” Shen said.

Shen elaborated, saying the Chinese are becoming more affluent, experienced travelers. They want to try new things, and they find cruises to be a relaxing experience, where they can enjoy fresh breezes and ocean views and a chance to go slow and savor the days.

“It revolutionized my understanding of what makes a perfect trip. A typical trip in China is often exhausting because we rush to check out all the landmarks and go on a shopping binge,” said Fan Xuepeng who recently took a five-day cruise to Malaysia and Singapore.

According to the National Holiday Tourism Office, Beijing had 8.27 million holiday visitors, generating revenue of 3.4 billion yuan, up 9.3 percent year-on-year. Shanghai had about 3.14 million visitors, up 3.2 percent, with tourism revenue up 10.4 percent to 2.96 billion yuan. Each day during the holiday, an average of 10,000 people visited the duty-free shop in Sanya, Hainan province.

image credit: christian junker

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