Chinese Domestic Travel to Thrive During Holidays

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Jan. 19 – Chinese domestic travel during the Spring Festival holiday is expected to be robust despite global economic slowdown, according to the latest survey results.

Market research company, Nielsen said that almost half of the respondents in an online survey said they would take up domestic tour packages during the holidays.

The top destinations of choice locally include the Hainan Province’s Sanya for its beaches, followed by Yunnan Province’s Lijiang because of its historical sights. Beijing came in third with 16 percent of those polled opting for the Olympic host city.

Other destinations in the top ten are Jiuzhaigou in Chengdu, Shanghai, Guilin in Yangshuo, Hangzhou, Zhangjiajie, Dalian and Qingdao.

“Demand for travel is not likely to extinguish amid the economic downturn,” Zhang Qingzhu from tour agency China Comfort Travel Ltd. told China Daily.

“But some holidaymakers may cut down their budgets and opt for domestic trips over overseas ones,” she added.

Domestic tours are still considered to be good options during the festival because it is value for money. Others in the travel industry told China Daily that the cancellation of the weeklong May Day holiday this year also led to the increased demand for domestic tours.

“Since last year, people can enjoy only two weeklong holidays – the Spring Festival and National Day holidays. There is a need to release the pent-up demand in the sector,” said Zhang Lingjie, deputy manager of the domestic department with the China International Travel Service head office.

Domestic tour prices have been falling because of slowing business in the transport and hotel industries. Tour package prices have dropped by as much as 20 percent this year because of declining fuel prices and group discounts offered by airlines.

Some destinations are even offering incentives for domestic tourists. Beijing is giving away 30,000 tickets for free during the holiday. A minimum of 100 scenic spots in the capital will even offer a 20 percent to 40 percent discount on tickets.

In Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, authorities are giving away 400,000 sets of travel vouchers with an estimated cost of RMB40 million to neighboring provinces.

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