• Chinese abroad to surpass 6 million during Spring Festival

    Ramesh Tiwari
    January 26, 2017
    Chinese abroad to surpass 6 million during Spring Festival

    By Ma Jingjing / GT—–

    Beijing : The number of Chinese who will travel abroad during the upcoming Spring Festival holidays is expected to exceed 6 million, with the US, Australia and Thailand among the most popular destinations, according to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

    “Some 6 million Chinese will travel abroad during the weeklong holidays from January 27 to February 2, which will become a global Golden Week,” said a statement on the CNTA website on Monday.

    Chinese tourists going abroad will increase 49 percent year-on-year during the weeklong holidays, a record high for the annual festival, online travel agency lümama.com noted in a report .

    International-bound tourists will account for a small proportion of the nation’s overall tourists, as there is expected to be 343 million people traveling within the country, according to CNTA.

    Preferences abroad

    Medium- and short-distance destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and Thailand posted more online travel bookings and even farther destinations including the US, the UK and Spain also saw more orders, the bureau said.

    As for travel packages, cruise, island and ice and snow tours are popular, said the CNTA statement. Phuket in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia and Jeju  in South Korea were some of the noted hot tourist spots.

    “Cruises are a new traveling mode, with excellent cost performance, attracting family outings,” Zhang Lingyun, director of the Tourism Development Academy at Beijing Union University, told the Global Times Tuesday.

    The number of bookings on lümama.com for cruises during the upcoming holidays is nearly three times that of the same period last year, according to data from the agency on January 12.

    A Beijing white-collar worker surnamed Liu said he will visit Phuket for the upcoming holidays. “Our family plan to spend seven days there, not only because of excellent cost performance, but also for its warm weather and clean air,” he told the Global Times .

    Given domestic pollution, air quality and natural environment have become crucial factors when choosing tourist resorts, the China Tourism Academy (CTA) said .

    “Especially during winter when air pollution is serious in parts of the country, citizens are more willing to escape smog… A considerable proportion of travelers even go to foreign islands to run away from the cold climate and smog,” according to a statement on the institution’s website.

    Despite the peak in tourists during the Spring Festival, travelling fees are roughly the same as last year, thanks to an increase in the number of flights, advanced purchase of travel packages and travel agency discounts, according to a report that the online travel services provider Ctrip sent to the Global Times in December.

    While the cost of traveling to Thailand, the US and the Philippines is 5 to 15 percent higher than last year, it’s cheaper to travel to South Korea, Singapore and Italy, where costs are down 10-30 percent from the previous year, said the Ctrip report.

    Many domestic airlines increased flights to cope with the rising need during the Spring Festival.For example, China Southern Airlines proposed to increase more than 700 international flights along popular routes including lines from South China to Southeast Asian countries and from Northeast China to Japan and South Korea.

    Travel surge

    About 122 million Chinese travelled abroad in 2016, nearly the overall population of Japan, ranking No.1 in the world, according to a report released by CTA and Ctrip.

    Chinese travelers spent $109.8 billion overseas in 2016, representing 16 percent of the country’s total tourist expenditure, said the report.

    Easier visa applications was a factor pushing Chinese people travel abroad. “After the US, Canada and Singapore granted 10-year visas to Chinese passport holders, Israel and Australia followed suit. In addition, Thailand reduced its visa fees for Chinese visitors in December, January and February,” a travel agent surnamed Chen at lümama.com said in December.

    There is a shift in mainland tourists’ reasons for traveling overseas, according to a separate CTA report in September 2016. “In the past, they mainly wanted to sightsee and shop, but now more and more people want to experience local life,” the report said.

    Source : The Global Times / January 2017

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
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      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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