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15 Feb, 2016

Chinese Spring Festival Holiday rush registers 1.38b trips

By Ding Xuezhen

Beijing (Global Times) February 14, 2016 – China’s Spring holiday rush has so far accomplished 1.38 billion trips, a 3.3 percent growth from last year, according to the country’s Ministry of Transportation on Saturday.The 40-day Spring holiday rush reached its midpoint on Saturday with railroad traffic increasing 9.1 percent compared to the same period last year, highway traffic up 2.8 percent, air traffic up 3.1 percent and maritime traffic down 3.2 percent.

The ministry said its data showed that 80 percent of people traveled during the period to visit families and friends while 10 percent chose to travel for the purpose of tourism. It also said 17.7 percent of the Chinese tourists chose overseas destinations.

A new trend has also emerged in China during this year’s Spring Festival, when more migrant workers from the country’s less developed inland areas preferred to find jobs in adjacent provinces rather than to travel to megacities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Experts have attributed this to the rising cost of living in the country’s first-tier cities and the growing demand for labor in central and western China.

Over 80 percent of the population of Nanchong, Sichuan Province moved to Chongqing by Saturday, the last day of the Spring Festival holiday, while people traveling to Beijing and Shanghai accounted for less than 2 percent, according to the data.

Other cities in Sichuan Province such as Dazhou and Bazhong saw a similar trend. In Dazhou, 85.5 percent of the population travelled to Chongqing Municipality after the Spring Festival holidays, with 4.6 percent going to Ankang, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. In contrast, only 2.6 percent and 1.3 percent of the population went to Dongguan, Guangdong Province and Fuzhou, Fujian Province, respectively, as of press time.

In 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the urbanization of around 100 million people in the country’s central and western regions in an annual government work report, in which migrant workers were encouraged to find a job without traveling across the country.

“When these regions start to provide work and other facilities, China will experience greater momentum in terms of economic and social development,” according to Yao Chenyuan, a researcher with China’s State Council, as quoted by Guangming Daily on Thursday.

If China fully accomplishes such an urbanization process, it may also help solve the problem of left-behind children, Wang Yuesheng, a population researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Saturday.

“Metropolitan areas have gained much in attracting labor due to the rapid development of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone,” Yin Zhi, an expert on urban planning at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

However, many small- and medium-sized cities have failed to attract labor, according to the expert.

More efforts should be made to get cities in remote areas to provide more public services such as education and medical care, Yin noted.

6 million Chinese people enjoy Spring Festival abroad

By Wang Ao

Beijing, (People’s Daily Online) February 14, 2016 – The Spring Festival – China’s lunar New Year is becoming a significant holiday for the global tourism industry. Even though China witnessed a weakening of the RMB at the beginning of 2016, it did not stop around 6 million Chinese people from going on shopping sprees abroad. Many young people with new ideas about the Spring Festival spent it overseas rather than returning to hometowns and reuniting with their families.

According to data from China’s tourism industry, the number of Chinese visitors traveling overseas during the Spring Festival reached 6 million. The favorite three destinations were Thailand, Japan and South Korea. The most popular three destination cities were Seoul, Taipei and Bangkok.

“The costs of domestic travel are about the same with as traveling abroad. I have travelled in southern regions of China in the previous Spring Festivals. There were not adequate service personnel in China. Many restaurants closed down and it was rather difficult for us to take taxies. We also need to pay more money – several times more than before – for hotels. Rather than spending an unhappy Spring Festival traveling at home, why not go abroad to enjoy a really fun holiday? ” said a man of Beijing city, who traveled overseas during Spring Festival 2016.

Themed tourism is becoming a new way to travel

According to the data, there were ten hot tourism themes this year. Among of them, health treatment, pedestrianism and skiing made up 17 percent, 16 percent and 15 percent.

Our reporter learned from Ctrip, one of China’s most popular travel websites, that expenditure on health treatment was the highest and the average consumption exceeded 20,000 yuan. The best ways for urban Chinese to relieve stress included outdoor cycling, walking and skiing in the destinations with warm weather and clean air.

Young people spend the Spring Festival traveling abroad instead of returning to their hometowns

The Spring Festival is supposed to be the holiday when those young people who struggle go live independently far from home return to their hometowns to reunite with families. But more and more young people choose to travel abroad instead.

Xiao Yu took her parents on a trip to Phuket Island rather than go back home. “Girls in my hometown always get married early. The old age girls like me must be educated by families at home. Rather than listening to their complaints and questions, why not avoid so much attention from relatives by traveling overseas with my parents? ” said Xiao Yu, who works in Beijing.

This article was edited and translated from 《600万国人境外过年疯狂血拼》. Source: Beijing Evening News. The author is Fu Yang.

Chinese spend 1.2 trln yuan overseas in 2015

BEIJING, Feb. 13, (Xinhua) — Chinese consumers spent 1.2 trillion yuan (184 billion U.S. dollars) overseas last year, with over 60 percent going to luxury goods, according to an estimate by Fortune Character, a luxury market consultancy.Chinese spent 116.8 billion U.S. dollars on luxury products last year, accounting for 46 percent of the world’s luxury sales, said the firm.

Nearly 80 percent of the luxury purchases happened abroad as price difference in products such as alcohol and watches can be more than 80 percent, the Fortune Character said.

Growth of Chinese tourists spending in Japan slows

HANGZHOU, (Xinhua) 2016-02-14, — A couple living in east China’s Hangzhou city just came back from their second visit to Japan, with much lighter baggagesthis time.

“My wife bought some cosmetics — that’s all,” said Mao Bin, who recalled the huge amount of products from a rice cooker to pharmaceuticals they bought during their first visit.

“It has become so easy to buy things online. People go abroad more for fun than shopping,” Mao said.

According to the Japan Tourism Agency, spending of Chinese tourists increased by 2.2 times in the fourth quarter of last year, slower than the chain growth of 3.2 times in the second quarter.

Experts said the emergence of cross-border shopping platforms, which guarantee both authenticity and reasonable prices, have prompted Chinese tourists to spend less money and time on shopping.

Laox, a major retailer in Japan, said the number of Chinese customers increases much slower in the second half of 2015 compared with the first half.

Laox has thus opened a flagship store on Suning.com, a popular online shopping platform in China.

The depreciation of RMB is another factor that dampens the shopping enthusiasm of Chinese tourists, according to a travel agency in the city.