For many, it's time to get away from home
CGTN

Travel is a buzzword for the Lunar New Year holiday, also known as Spring Festival, and Chinese travelers are zealous about spending the time at tourist attractions rather than staying home.

More than 400 million trips are expected to be made by mainland tourists during the coming seven-day break, including an estimated seven million trips to outbound destinations, according to Ctrip, an online travel agency headquartered in Shanghai.

Chinese tourists will visit over 900 destinations at home and abroad, with the furthest being Antarctica, Ctrip said.

A Chinstrap penguin at Half Moon Island in Antarctica, November, 2017. /VCG Photo

A Chinstrap penguin at Half Moon Island in Antarctica, November, 2017. /VCG Photo

Traveling to celebrate the holiday is reaching a fever pitch in China; many people even started to prepare their year-end trips in August and September, according to a report by the China Association of Travel Services and online travel agency Tuniu.

With the strong demand for traveling during the holiday, prices for tour packages have increased by 30 to 50 percent for the travel period, said Lvmama, another travel agency in Shanghai.

The report, however, said that price is not the most important thing for travelers. They're more concerned with comfort. In order to enjoy a quiet and comfortable break, about 54 percent of travelers chose to start their trip 10 days earlier than the Spring Festival holiday, which officially starts on February 4, up seven percent from last year.

A temple on Mount Putuo in east China's Zhejiang Province. /VCG Photo

A temple on Mount Putuo in east China's Zhejiang Province. /VCG Photo

As to the domestic visits, praying for blessings, a traditional custom, is listed as one of the most popular events during the break, the report said.

Buddhist attractions, including Mount Putuo in Zhejiang Province, Mount E'mei in Sichuan Province and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province have been top choices for prayers of blessing, according to the report.

Lvmama said that reservations to prayer destinations in the approaching holiday increased by nearly 50 percent compared with last year's break.

Besides the booming domestic tourism market, outbound destinations will also see groups of Chinese travelers, the agencies said, with Japan and Thailand being the top choices.

 Dragon dance performance at Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore, on February 8, 2018. /VCG Photo

 Dragon dance performance at Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore, on February 8, 2018. /VCG Photo

Ctrip said that simplified visa application procedures in Japan that began on January 4 have motivated tourists. More than 20,000 Chinese travelers had reserved packages to the country on its platform as of early January.

"Though Japanese currency appreciated in the past few weeks and the nation introduced a bill since to levy a 1,000-yen (9 U.S. dollars) tax on foreign travelers and Japanese leaving the country, Chinese travelers' passion for its snowy winter scenery and hot springs didn't abate," Lvmama said.

Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, France and Turkey are other destinations favored by Chinese tourists during the break.

The Spring Festival holiday, from February 4 to 10, will see a travel peak on February 5, while outbound tourism will peak after January 31, the travel agencies said.

Source(s): China Daily