As China’s Golden Week starts, so too does the travel plans of hundreds of millions of people. This is an epic annual story of holiday migration.
Roughly 650 million Chinese will travel in the country, and 6 million are expected to go abroad, China’s biggest online travel agency Ctrip reports. This figure is based on current booking numbers and annual growth over the past few years.
Last year, domestic tourist spots received 593 million visits, up 12.8 percent, according to the National Tourism Administration.
Tourism income was 482.2 billion yuan ($72.5 billion), up 14.4 percent.
For the upcoming holiday, Hainan, Yunnan, Beijing, Gansu, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Sichuan, Fujian, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Guangdong are the top domestic destinations.
Hainan has seen bookings surge 90 percent, while bookings for Beijing, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Guangxi have increased by 150 percent.
Leisure, sightseeing and well-known destinations remain the first choice for travelers, says Shi Yuduan, chief marking officer of Ctrip’s vacation division.
The Belt and Road Initiative has also brought popularity to northwestern regions, such as Gansu and Xinjiang.
Travel costs are 20-50 percent higher than prices in non-holiday periods, which is normal, says Shi.
“Also, travelers are more willing to spend for better experiences, and they tend to favor quality and individual arrangements in food and accommodation,” she adds.
To date, the agency’s bookings cover 650 destinations in 70 countries.
“From the travel trends this year, popular scenic spots are likely to be overcrowded, and tourists are urged to plan early or avoid peak times,” says Shi.
The long holiday is also seeing a significant increase in the number of long-haul travelers, who have chosen trips of more than 4 days.
Roughly 38 percent of them will spend more than seven days outside, according to Ctrip.
Those who have applied for visas through the travel agency grew by more than 50 percent.
Thailand, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Viet-nam, Italy, Russia and Malaysia are the most popular destinations for the holiday, based on bookings.
Ctrip’s individual trip bookings to Canada have doubled as compared with last year. And trips covering the country’s east and west coasts, Banff National Park and Niagara Falls have nearly sold out, according to Shi.
Visitors to Australia, Singapore and Eastern Europe have also doubled.
The visa policies of Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia, are likely to see a surge in bookings to those countries, Shi says.