Faraway places more popular among Chinese tourists this Spring Festival holidays

A Chinese tourist takes a photo with a snowman at a scenic spot in Finland. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Passengers waiting at the Beijing Railway Station on Feb 1 as the annual Spring Festival travel rush begins ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - With the Spring Festival holidays approaching, some far-flung and expensive tourism destinations have become more popular among Chinese tourists, according to a new report by Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency.

Antarctica, Argentina, Brazil, Tahiti, Norway, Tanzania, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand and Finland have been listed as the 10 most expensive destinations for the coming vacation, according to the report released this week.

Chinese New Year, falls on Feb 16 and Feb 17 this year. The week-long Spring Festival holiday starts on Feb 15.

In those spots, most travellers are families and couples, Ctrip said, with the average spending for a family now topping 100,000 yuan (S$20,873). Antarctica, the most expensive destination, will cost more than 160,000 yuan per person.

According to the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, an industry group in the United States, Chinese tourists overtook Australia for the No.2 spot in 2017. Tourists from the US formed the biggest group of visitors.

The association said 5,289 Chinese travellers visited Antarctica last year, accounting for 12 per cent of the total number of tourists. More than 97 per cent of those Chinese tourists landed on the continent.

In 2016, 4,095 Chinese people made trips to Antarctica.

Many middle-income consumers are willing to experience something different, having already travelled to various other countries, the report said.

Temperatures are higher than usual during the February break as it is now summer in Antarctica.

Dai Bin, director of the China Tourism Academy, said Chinese tourists are seeking more diverse experiences overseas.

"More Chinese tourists are pursuing personalised, tailored and quality travelling experiences, resulting in more bookings to exotic destinations, reflecting their rising purchasing power and evolving tastes," he said.

On average, Chinese tourists are expected to spend 9,500 yuan per person during their travels abroad during the upcoming Spring Festival break.

That number is almost the same as last year, but is 60 percent higher than during the off-peak seasons, the report found.

However, it will cost about two to 10 per cent less to travel to the United States, Italy, Vietnam and the Philippines compared with last year, partly due to the appreciation of the yuan.

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