BEIJING • One in two Chinese is likely to be on the move when the country's Golden Week holiday comes around next month, with six million expected to go abroad.
Some 650 million Chinese are expected to travel over the Oct 1 to 8 holiday period, Shanghai-based travel agency Ctrip.com International said in a recent report. Last year, the figure came to 593 million.
Those who choose to holiday overseas are seeking out less common destinations that are further afield, reported China Daily.
"Chinese tourists no longer select only destinations such as Thailand, the United States and Japan. Countries such as Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand and Peru have become new attractions," said director Jiang Yiyi of the International Tourism Research Institute at the China Tourism Academy.
Chief marketing officer Shi Yuduan at Ctrip's vacation business department told China Daily: "Popular TV shows such as Game Of Thrones have given a new pull for overseas tourism. We have seen a 300 per cent rise year on year in the number of tourists going to Croatia. There is also strong growth in the Czech Republic, Iceland, Spain and Northern Ireland, where the HBO series was filmed."
She said packages featuring cruises, diving, camping, plastic surgery, shooting, casinos and safaris are all popular options for Chinese consumers, who are looking for more diverse holiday activities.
Exotic landscapes and immersive culture experiences also draw Chinese tourists, said China Daily.
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We have seen a 300 per cent rise year on year in the number of tourists going to Croatia. There is also strong growth in the Czech Republic, Iceland, Spain and Northern Ireland, where the HBO TV series was filmed.
MS SHI YUDUAN, chief marketing officer of Ctrip's vacation business department, on the spurt in travel abroad since Game Of Thrones won over viewers in China.
Vice-president An Li of Airbnb China said ecotourism in Brazil, especially in its rainforests and wetlands, has sparked greater interest from Chinese tourists in its home-sharing services, with the number doubling from last year's. China also is the biggest source of rental service users among all the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa).
Ctrip's report noted that most of its users choose to travel for four to six days, while a growing number of tourists prefer to travel longer. A quarter of Ctrip customers choose to travel between seven and 10 days, up 140 per cent year-on-year, and 13 per cent prefer more than 10 days, up 300 per cent from a year earlier.
"I booked my trip to Greece for this Golden Week for 11 days, and I don't have a solid travel plan in Greece - I will simply do whatever I feel like or go wherever I feel like," Mr Xu Jinhao, 26, told China Daily.
"I don't want to join a group coach trip to 15 European countries on a tight schedule within 10 days, like what used to be favoured. I'd rather spend more time to understand a country from all aspects."
According to the China National Tourism Administration, the 593 million Chinese who travelled during the Golden Week holiday last year generated 482.2 billion yuan (S$99.6 billion) in revenue across all areas, up 14.4 per cent year-on-year.