China / Society

Going abroad for Lunar New Year

By ZHENG XIN/XIAO LIXIN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-18 09:09

Going abroad for Lunar New Year

Pedestrians walk through Chinatown Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, in San Francisco. Rainstorms are expected in the Bay Area through the end of the week. [Photo/Agencies]

"Thanks to the depreciation of the Japanese yen and its favorable visa policy, trips to Japan are particularly popular," said Rao Tian, deputy manager of outbound tourism sector, China International Travel Service.

"Plus, since now is the best season to visit Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, there are only a few seats left in package tours to these destinations."

According to, a domestic online tourism booking platform, the number of Chinese travelers who have booked trips via its website to Southeast Asian countries during the Chinese New Year has tripled this year, with Phuket in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia and Boracay in the Philippines among the most popular spots.

Cruise travel has also been high on the list of Chinese travelers' choices during Spring Festival. According to, another major online travel agency, cruise travel packages have taken up about 30 percent of online reservations, increasing more than 40 percent from the same period last year. Travel routes are mostly to neighboring countries such as Japan and South Korea and last about five days.

The trend of going on overseas trips is partly due to the increasing number of countries modifying their visa application procedures to attract more visitors from China, said Chen Gang, CEO of Mafengwo, China's largest tourist information-sharing website.

Destinations with easier visa application processes are increasingly popular. Chinese tourists have a much wider range of choices than before and travelers would rather go abroad within the same budget, according to Ctrip.

Many countries are now scrambling to ease their visa application procedures to attract more Chinese visitors and grab a larger slice of the pie. About 50 countries and regions have visa-free or "visa-on-arrival policies" for Chinese citizens.

To better cater to the needs of Chinese tourists, tourism authorities and shops have also offered many incentives to them during Spring Festival.

For example, Chinese travelers cannot only pay by Union Pay in shopping malls in popular tourist destinations, such as popular department store Galeries Lafayette in Paris, but are also warmly greeted with the slogan "Welcome to Myongdong" in Chinese at the entrance of one of the most popular shopping areas in South Korea's capital Seoul, with shop assistants speaking fluent Chinese.

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