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Tourists gearing up for holiday travel
Author:Yang Feiyue  Source:China Daily Europe   

Zhang Guangqi has booked a trip to Japan for the upcoming National Day holiday, from Oct 1 to 8.

"I know it's likely to be crowded everywhere, but I don't want to spend the long holiday at home," the Beijing resident says.

Zhang is among the Chinese travelers who want to travel to the four corners of the globe for the Golden Week holiday.

Roughly 650 million Chinese will travel in the country, and 6 million are expected to go abroad, according to Ctrip, China's biggest online travel agency.

The 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 by 12.8 percent, according to the National Tourism Administration.

Tourism income was 482.2 billion yuan ($73 billion; 61 billion euros; 54 billion), up by 14.4 percent.

For the coming holiday, the top destinations, according to Ctrip, are Hainan and Yunnan provinces, Beijing, Gansu province, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Sichuan and Fujian provinces, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Guangdong province.

Hainan has seen bookings surge by 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 marketing 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 to 50 percent higher than prices in nonholiday 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 accommodations," 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 four days.

Roughly 38 percent of them will spend more than seven days outside the country, according to Ctrip.

Those applying for visas through the travel agency grew by more than 50 percent.

Thailand, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Italy, Russia and Malaysia are the most popular destinations for the holiday, based on bookings.

Ctrip's individual trip bookings to Canada have doubled 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.

Visits to Australia, Singapore and Eastern Europe have also doubled.

The visa policies of Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia are likely to bring a surge in bookings to those countries, Shi says.

Zhang is looking forward to the October travel.

"It's been a long time since I could go out, and I'm sure it will help me blow off steam," he says.

yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

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