Pack up your instant noodles: some 6 million tourists are expected to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year by traveling overseas, and Thailand again remains their top travel destination.
Experts estimate that Chinese tourists will travel to 172 countries during the 2017 Spring Festival for an average trip of 9.2 days each. Altogether, they will spend a grand total of $14.3 billion (100 billion yuan). Last year, 6 million Chinese tourists also traveled abroad during Chinese New Year, buying lots of stuff in the process.
Japan returns as the second most popular destination for Chinese tourists, while a year of bad press has seen former favorite South Korea drop four places to seventh position this year.
In its place, Australia has made the biggest improvement among Chinese tourists by jumping from tenth to fifth place after offering Chinese visitors 10-year visas. Meanwhile, the US, the only non-Asian country to make the list, jumped to the fourth spot.
Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia all dropped off the list to make way for new top destinations India, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Southeast Asian countries have become especially favored by Chinese tourists due to low costs and geographical proximity, while easier visa application requirements and increased number of flights have increased the overall popularity of overseas travel.
An agent named Chen from online travel agency Lulumama told the Global Times: “After the US, Canada and Singapore granted 10-year visas to Chinese, Israel and Australia followed suit. In addition, Thailand reduced its visa fees for Chinese visitors in December, January and February.”
In anticipation of the surge in overseas travel, Chinese airlines like China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines have begun operating new international routes this season, with the latter operating the first-ever direct flight from the Chinese mainland to Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, domestic travel is also expected to be very heavy this coming CNY. Some 356 million railway trips will be taken during the annual chunyun travel rush, an increase of almost 10% from last year. At present, customers are only allowed to purchase a maximum of five tickets at a time.
Here’s the full top 10 list of the most popular destinations among outgoing Chinese tourists for Spring Festival 2017:
7) South Korea
9) The Philippines
Last year, some 2.91 billion journeys were taken during the Chinese New Year holiday in what was the
largest migration of humans to date.
By Charles Liu
[Images via Global Times / Yeeyan]
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