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This Chinese New Year, More People Than Ever Expected To Travel Outside Of The Country

Brief: January 28 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and this year's calendar allows for a possible ten-day break.
Year of the Rooster Donald Trump
Workers standing in front of inflatable chickens resembling Donald Trump
in a factory in Jiaxing which will be used to usher in the Year of the Rooster.
 
January 28 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and this year's calendar allows for a possible ten-day break.

While the holiday used to be a period of family reunions and big feasts, many Chinese are now choosing to escape the winter pollution and the vastly overstretched domestic travel infrastructure by taking an outbound trip instead.

Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency, recently released its "2017 Spring Festival Tourism Big Data Report," forecasting that this year’s holiday season will be the “hottest ever” and is expected to surpass last year's total of six million outbound trips. According to the online travel agency, the top 10 overseas destinations for Chinese New Year tourists in 2017 are: Thailand, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The report also claims that this year has seen much smaller increases in package tour prices compared to previous years, with plenty of last-minute offers still available due to a wider range of available deals as well as increased time flexibility. (This year's Spring Festival Golden Week public holidays will last from Friday, January 27 to Thursday, February 2, and people may elect to take an extra day off on Friday, January 3 to extend their holidays.)

With increases of around 15%, trips to Thailand saw the largest rises in price, while the strong U.S. dollar saw trips to the U.S. and the Philippines become approximately 10% more expensive. Nevertheless, trips to Japan and many destinations have stayed almost stable. The prices for package tours to countries that saw plummeting visitor numbers in 2016--such as Egypt, Turkey and Italy--are being reduced by up to 30%.

The first Golden Week tours begin on January 23, peaking on January 25, with many travelers aiming to leave the country before the “Golden Week Travel Madness” begins. This year 2.98 billion trips (up from 2.91 billion last year) are expected to take place within one week in China, mobility on a level never seen before in the history of mankind.

Positive forecasts for outbound trips are supported by the continued easing of visa requirements for many destinations, increased flight numbers and relatively low-cost package tours, with tour operators hoping to lure back some of the increasing number of independent travelers. With the opportunity to travel for ten days or more, long-haul destinations like the U.S. and Australia can expect large numbers of Chinese visitors this year. Additionally, countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Morocco will benefit from recently relaxed visa requirements. A visa for UAE can new be obtained after arrival at the airport without prior application, and Morocco even waived the need for a visa completely.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Taiwan, traditionally very important destinations for the Golden Week, will lose visitors to countries further afield.
Source: Forbes
TagsChinese tourists Chinese New Year travel overseas

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