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More people skip agencies, make own plans

By Su Zhou / Zhao Ruixue ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-05-20 09:06:17

The majority of Chinese travelers prefer to travel on their own instead of following arrangements made by travel agencies, a senior official said.

More people skip agencies, make own plans

In 2015, China counted more than 4 billion visits by Chinese travelers within the country, and more than 3.2 billion of those were tourists traveling on their own or who took road trips with their own cars, according to Li Jinzao, director of the China National Tourism Administration.

"Their average spending surpassed 1,000 yuan ($153)," Li said, adding that the numbers show China has entered an era of mass tourism in which travel is no longer the sole purview of the rich.

The trend also affects the overseas tourism market. According to a report by Chinese tourism information-sharing website Mafengwo.cn and Zuzuche.com, car rentals by Chinese visiting overseas reached 13.13 billion yuan in 2015 with the market expecting to see 88.6 percent of growth in 2016.

Zhang Hui, 29, from Shanghai, is one of a growing band of Chinese travelers who have turned their backs on package holidays in the company of strangers and embraced a way of travel they can intimately share with their nearest and dearest.

"Traveling is no longer something I need to seek advice for, from professionals like tour guides or a travel agency," Zhang said.

Yu Dunde, CEO of Tuniu, another Chinese travel agency, said going on their own has given tourists more choices - and that's something that doesn't cut travel agencies' business but gives them new opportunities.

"We didn't provide travel packages directly, but we offer services at cheaper prices," Yu said during the first World Conference on Tourism for Development in Beijing on Thursday. "For individual travelers, they also need to book hotels and air tickets, or pay entrance ticket fees for tourism attractions. And the price they pay could be very high."

According to the Report on China's Tourism Development released by the tourism administration, by 2020 domestic tourists trips will reach 6.8 billion.

"In 2015, the country recorded more than 4.1 billion domestic tourist trips. However, even though we are a large country, the average person made only three visits in 2015," said Li, of the tourism authority. "Internationally, a country is considered large for tourism when its individual average surpasses nine or 10 visits.

"So if every Chinese made one more trip a year, we could have another 1 billion trips," he said.

 

 

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