Wang Yulan, 53, is busy packing up her baggage preparing for her first family trip abroad during Spring Festival, China’s most important traditional holiday, largely a time for families to get together.
The family of five will spend the upcoming week-long holiday in Thailand. Wang is excited and a little nervous, although it’s not her first time to travel abroad, it is the first time for them to celebrate the lunar new year in a foreign country.
They have booked a tour package including a tailor-made private route and tour guide. They paid in advance, over 30,000 yuan (US$4,449) in total.
Wang has traveled twice a year since her retirement in 2017. “Traveling was beyond my dream when I was young,” said Wang, whose family now earns a monthly income over 20,000 yuan. “We are now better off, and the children have paid-leave, so we can plan a trip easily,” she said.
China’s per capita disposable income rose to 28,228 yuan in 2018, up 6.5 percent year-on-year in real terms.
During the weeklong holiday in 2018, China’s domestic tourist destinations received over 386 million visitors, and Chinese tourists reached 68 countries and regions overseas, according to China’s tourism authorities.
Ctrip, China’s leading online travel agency, forecast that 7 million Chinese tourists will travel to over 500 tourist destinations in more than 90 countries and regions during the Spring Festival holiday this year.
Qiu Cheng, general manager of Longxingtianxia travel agency of Lanzhou in Gansu Province, said Thailand and Japan are among the most popular tourist destinations for customers this Spring Festival.
“Spring Festival is a time for family gatherings, but it’s not necessary to be at home,” said Liang Wei, Wang’s son. “Traveling abroad is a new option.”
A report based on big data from Tuniu, China’s online travel agency, shows that up to 55 percent of outbound travelers that applied for visas during Spring Festival were applying with their families.
“Tourists are requiring high quality travel experiences, and customized tour packages for family are trendy,” said Zhang Shiqi, general manager with Guantianxia International Travel Agency in Gansu Province.
“Even though the price is twice that of normal group tours, it is favored by many due to its convenience and one-of-a-kind experience.”