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New changes to travel during the Chinese lunar New Year

(People's Daily Online)    14:07, January 21, 2020

With the Chinese Lunar New Year just around the corner, the Spring Festival travel rush has begun. However, there are some changes in travel trends in China this year. For instance, there has been a big increase in the number of package tours to rural areas.

Tourists enjoy themselves in a ski resort in Qingzhou, east China's Shandong province on Jan. 20, 2019. (Photo/sipaphoto.com)

Package tours to rural areas go viral

Thanks to Li Ziqi, a Chinese internet celebrity famous for her videos in which she gracefully performs various farming tasks, the number of people who choose to spend time in rural areas in the form of package tours has increased by 280 percent, according to statistics from Ctrip.com, a travel service provider.

Tour products specially designed to meet such needs are in short supply, so tourists often go to rural towns which have a strong flavor of the Lunar New Year and unique activities.

Shanxi (ancient city of Pingyao), Shaanxi (Ansai), Shandong (Zhoucun), Zhejiang (Qiantong ancient town), Hebei (Yuxian), Heilongjiang (Harbin), Sichuan (Langzhong ancient city), Anhui (Hongcun), Xinjiang (Kanas), Gansu (Xiahe) and other places became the most favored tourist destinations for the Spring Festival, the " Spring Festival atmosphere index for tourism destinations" released by Ctrip in collaboration with APP order search and online voting shows.

The popularity of searching for and booking related tourist routes has increased significantly.

From the perspective of tourist groups, the proportion of parent-child families accounted for 53 percent of consumers, followed by travel with parents, accounting for 13 percent.

Single travel during Spring Festival becomes top search

The keyword "single travel during Spring Festival" has recently become a hot search on the Mafengwo platform, a Chinese travel website, with its popularity rising by 100 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of people searching for and viewing content related to "one-person tours" before the Spring Festival increased by 28 percent year on year, with more than 70 percent of users under the age of 30 planning to make "one-person tours" during the Spring Festival.

"The Spring Festival is a traditional Chinese reunion festival. Today's young people prefer to travel alone during the Spring Festival, which shows that Chinese society is becoming more inclusive and young people are paying more attention to their own experience," said Feng Rao, director of the Mafengwo tourism research center.

Museums favored by students

Data from Ctrip shows that in terms of scenic spots, the Forbidden City, Shanghai Disneyland, West Lake, Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding are those with the largest amount of tourists.

As the Spring Festival is also a time for winter vacations, students are also part of the tourist demographic. For them, museums such as the Beijing Palace Museum, Shaanxi History Museum, and Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum site Museum have all become the most popular scenic spots.

Shaanxi History Museum in Xi'an will rank first among most congested tourist attractions with "the average speed of the surrounding road network being 16.5 km/h,” said Yan Sunrong, general manager of Baidu Map Intelligent Transportation.

Reverse trend of Spring Festival travel rush continues to grow

According to data from various travel platforms, there is an obvious ‘reverse trend’ of the Spring Festival travel rush, referring to travel to large cities, during the New Year holiday.

The top 10 cities for this reverse trend in 2020 are Chongqing, Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Xi'an and Suzhou, according to the Spring Festival data released by platforms such as Meituan, Dianping and Smart Steps of China Unicom.

The same trip report shows that during the Spring Festival, the number of hotel bookings around residential areas in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Suzhou and other first-tier cities and new first-tier cities has increased to a certain extent, and a large proportion of the bookings are by local residents.

Residential accommodation data also confirms the trend of reverse Spring Festival travel during the New year.

First-tier cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai rank among the top three in Spring Festival bookings for homestays, accounting for nearly 50 percent of total Spring Festival bookings at popular destinations in China, according to the Spring Festival booking data from Airbnb, a service provider for guesthouse bookings, in 2020.

In terms of duration, the average booking time for Airbnb users during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday is 5.2 nights. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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