The Chinese are prepared to seek out new destinations for their New Year’s week-long holidays, starting from January 27th. ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 16 million ﬂight reservation transactions each day, found that globally the number of international Chinese air travellers is ahead by 9.8% vs. 2016’s equivalent period. East Asian countries are the hot spot for Chinese tourists and Europe makes a comeback as a star destination after last year’s security concerns.
The Chinese are returning to Europe to celebrate their New Year – the Year of the Rooster – at the end of January, after a dip in numbers in 2016, most likely due to concerns over terrorist threats, according to ForwardKeys.
Although security concerns remain, as of December 30th 2016, bookings to Europe for the start of the Chinese lunar calendar year on January 28th, were 68.5% ahead, compared to a 7.4% fall in visitor numbers last year. Whilst at first sight this looks like very good news for Europe’s tourism industry, ForwardKeys cautions that the outlook may not be as positive as the 68.5% number suggests because it is possible that bookings have just been made at an earlier date than in previous years.
Shanghai is the main source region followed by Beijing and Guangzhou.
Nevertheless, benchmarked against the equivalent period in 2015, before terrorist threats damaged European tourism, bookings are still +56% ahead, with Northern European and Central/Eastern European destinations showing the greatest gains in popularity.
Spain is the fastest-growing destination in Europe for Chinese travellers during the Spring Festival period (89 per cent), followed by the UK (88 per cent) and Italy (59 per cent). Despite suffering numerous terrorist attacks, France is ahead 49 per cent.
ForwardKeys also reveals that the global number of international Chinese air travel bookings to all destinations, made in December for the busy period from January 18th to February 1st, is ahead by 9.8%.
Most departures are concentrated in the four days immediately before the 2017 Golden Week dates which run from January 27th to February 2nd. The average length of stay is eight days.
In addition to Europe, South East Asia, currently ahead 12.2%, accounts for this year’s growth. Malaysia is ahead 46.3%, Indonesia 44%, Vietnam 37.8% and Philippines 31.8%, all possibly due to improved political and economic relations after visits by President Xi.
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