Chinese outbound tourism is about to set a new record high over the Lunar New Year holiday. (File photo/China Daily)
The number of Chinese outbound tourists is expected to reach a new high during the upcoming Lunar New Year festival, with neighboring countries, such as Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, being the major destinations.
According to the latest data provided by Ctrip.com, one of the largest travel service websites in China, the number of Chinese tourists going overseas during the Lunar New Year (or Spring Festival) holiday will reach 6 million, breaking the previous records.
"During the seven-day national holiday, Chinese tourists will cross more than 100 countries and regions, with the South Pole being the farthest point," Ctrip.com said.
Based on statistics collected by major online travel agencies in the country, the most popular destinations for Spring Festival among Chinese visitors are Thailand, Japan, South Korea, China's Taiwan province, Singapore, the US, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.
Among all them, neighboring countries in Asia are enjoying increasing popularity among Chinese visitors. Meanwhile, Hong Kong is gradually regaining its appeal to tourists in the mainland, with its current booking number ranking at No.2 among all places, based on data provided by LY.com, another domestic travel service website.
According to a new report released by LY.com, Chinese outbound tourists spent an average of 5-6 days on their trips during the festival, accounting for 42.9 percentof their annual travel time. Package tours are still preferred by many, with DIY trips account for just over 21 percentof travel.
Meanwhile, the demand for products related to overseas travel is on the rise, such as Wifi eggs, vehicle services and tickets. Chinese outbound visitors are spending more as well, with average expenses reaching more than 4,000 yuan ($609).
There are multiple reasons for the boost of outbound tourism. Relaxed visa policies, expanded international flight routes, and travel expense discounts and allowances given by online travel agencies are all among the catalysts.
For example, in 2015, South Korea provided free visas to Chinese visitors who joined a package tour; Malaysia is to offer visa-free trips for Chinese who travel in pairs or in a group; Vietnam decreased its visa application fee from $45 to $20; Thailand's multi-entrance visa type is open to Chinese; Singapore extended its visa valid period up to 10 years for Chinese tourists who apply after June 2015.
Meanwhile, a number of new flight routes were opened in 2015. According to latest statistics by OAG, the air travel intelligence company in the UK, international airlines originating in China are becoming more widely spread.