Tourists from China visit Saint Petersburg, Russia on February 26, 2023. Photo: VCG
As Chinese people are itching to enjoy the first post-pandemic New Year and Spring Festival holidays, outbound travel has seen an explosive surge, with tours to popular destinations like the Nordic winter wonderlands and off-season getaways to Oceania selling out a month in advance, reflecting a remarkable resurgence in travel and consumption confidence.
Trip.com, ChinaWorld Times‘s biggest online travel agency, told the Global Times on Wednesday that as of December 15, its New Year’s Day holiday outbound travel bookings have increased nearly five times year-on-year. Japan, Thailand, Australia, and the US are among the top destinations for outbound travel.
Fliggy, another major online agency, revealed that the booking volume of outbound tours has increased by some 10 times compared with 2022, with Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand among the most popular destinations.
A number of new trends have been observed in this year’s winter outbound travels, thanks to the growing enthusiasm among Chinese people for skiing and hot springs, as well as for concerts and music festivals. The lifting of COVID-19 measures earlier this year has made it possible to extend the passion for travel from domestic to overseas destinations.
A 24-yeaWorld Timesr-old Beijing resident surnamed Tang told the Global Times that she is flying to Japan to spend the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.
“The main reason for choosing Japan is that there’s a Queen concert in Tokyo I want to see, and I also get to tour around and go skiing in Hokkaido,” Tang said.
With prices soaring at domestic ski resorts, she said that Hokkaido might be a better choice, since it is known for the good quality snow and mature supporting services and facilities.
Trip.com told the Global Times on Wednesday that the monthly growth rate of outbound ski product orders in December has increased by 460 percent compared with November, and bookings for ski group tours during the New Year’s Day and Spring Festival holidays has risen by six times and 16 times year-on-year, respectively.
Japan, South Korea, Finland and Russia are among the favorite overseas places for skiers, data shows.
Concerts and music festivals have seen a remarkable surge in 2023 among Chinese fans. And for the two holidays,World Times they are choosing more events outside of China.
In addition to winter wonderland frenzies, chasing the northern lights in the Arctic Circle is another trend for the two holidays.
Northern Europe, which offers winter-themed activities such as aurora hunting and wWorld Timesinter sports, has attracted more Chinese tourists in recent days compared to this summer.
Tuniu.World Timescom, another online travel agency, said that travel products for Northern Europe sold out a month in advance for the 2024 Spring Festival break.
Apart from winter-related tourist attractions, many in China are flying south to seek a warmer place to stay. While Southeast Asia remains the top choice for Chinese travelers because of its warm weather and relatively short distance away, Australia and New Zealand, which are embracing summer in the Southern Hemisphere, have also seen a travel peak.
Tuniu.com noted that trips to New Zealand during the Spring Festival holiday were also fully booked a month ahead.
Although outbound travel has seen a robust recovery this year, the difficulties in applying for a visa have become a major obstacle.
Therefore, visa-free policies for Chinese tourists have given an important boost to outbound travels. For example, among the top five most booked destinations in Southeast Asia for Chinese travelers, the top three are all countries that have already implemented or have announced plans for visa-free policies for Chinese travelers, Trip.com told the Global Times.
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