Fri, October 01, 2010
Lifestyle > Travel > 61th Anniversary of People's Republic of China

More people packing as travel bug bites

2010-10-01 01:48:19 GMT2010-10-01 09:48:19 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Resting camels attract attention at the Shahu tourist site in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Sept 29, 2010. [Xinhua]

BEIJING - The tourism market was in full stride with the advent of National Day Golden Week as increasing numbers of people are packing for domestic and international trips.

A China Tourism Academy report published earlier this month predicted that the country would receive 210 million travelers during the Golden Week holiday.

Flight tickets to Shanghai were hard to come by due to the popularity of the World Expo, according to a survey by Ctrip.com, a major Chinese online booking website. The survey also found that hotel prices had soared. For example, hotels in Hangzhou, 176 kilometers from Shanghai, surged 10 to 40 percent since the middle of September. Other tourist cities such as Chengdu, Changsha and Wuhan, also saw an increase in hotel prices.

More than 30,000 Chinese mainland tourists are expected to travel to Taiwan from Sept 29 to Oct 8, more than double last year's figure, according to Taiwan's Travel Agent Association on Thursday.

About 12,000 mainland tourists traveled to Taiwan during the National Day holiday last year, with an estimated spending power of about NT$760 million ($24.32 million), figures from the local tourism bureau showed.

In July 2008, Taiwan allowed mainland tourists to visit the island on package tours for stays of up to 15 days. A total of 600,000 mainlanders visited Taiwan last year, and this year's figure is expected to hit 1.5 million.

Also, more people are setting their sights on international travel.

According to Wang Yali of the marketing department at China Travel Service (CTS) head office, these packages were in high demand.

"Traveling abroad is so hot this year that even travel agencies had trouble buying tickets from airline companies, especially those popular lines going to Europe, the United States, Africa and Australia," Wang said.

"All the tour packages between September and November had been snapped up by the end of August," she added.

Overseas tours also sold well at China Youth Travel Service (CYTS), another popular travel agency.

According to Song Xiaohong from the marketing department of CYTS, the company's tour group will take some 3,600 tourists outside China between Oct 1 and 7.

"We announced the Golden Week travel lines in late August, and all were sold out in early September," Song said.

The Golden Week, which refers to the holiday periods of the Spring Festival and National Day, is longer than usual this year because it starts only six days after the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holidays.

"I changed my work shifts and stitched all the holidays together, a total of 10 days. It is a chance to visit places farther away," said Shang Tongtong, a 24 year-old Beijing resident.

The number of people who said they were considering traveling outside China increased 28.93 percent over the same period in 2009, and the number of tourist routes to Japan, the US and Singapore surged 20 to 30 percent on a travel website named 51766, according to a report in the Workers' Daily.

"I cannot believe that so many people are going abroad. When I went to the Chongwen exit-entry administration in Beijing in early September, I spent more than three hours waiting in line to get my passport," said Liu Mengmeng, 29, who will travel to the Republic of Korea on Oct 10.

In 2009, China had 42.21 million people traveling abroad. This represented a 5.2 percent increase from 2008 , according to statistics released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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