Some Chinese travelers are experiencing sticker shock for the upcoming holiday. This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival, which begins next week, and National Day have seen outbound travel prices increase by as much as 30 percent year-on-year to 11 popular destinations, according to a Beijing Youth Daily report that claimed the trend was across various booking platforms. But travelers remain unfazed by the prices to their preferred destinations as more people continued to book flights abroad.
As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches and Chinese residents prepare to embark on their trips, the report indicates that the booking period for outbound travel has ended and few flights are still available. For international flights with available seats, Ctrip noted that only economy seats remain. A representative from Chinese travel and tourism company CYTS Tours Holding Co., Ltd. (CYTS) said that most long-haul tours are fully booked, leaving only short-haul destinations available for last-minute travel planners.
This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, which is from September 22 to 24, ends just six days before the beginning of China’s week-long National Day holiday on October 1. Because of the holidays’ proximity, many Chinese travelers have decided to take six days of paid time off to extend their holiday travel period to 16 days. For the travelers taking only the three days off for the festival, the report said that the average cost of booking a trip increased 10 percent from the previous year. The longer holiday trips saw greater price increases.
Data from China’s top online travel agency Ctrip showed that hotel prices have increased starting on September 29 in preparation for the National Day holiday, with Chiang Mai, Thailand, experiencing the greatest rise in prices. Hotels in the popular Thai city have risen an average of 20 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, hotel prices in London and Bangkok increased by about 10 percent.
Chiang Mai saw the largest surge in hotel prices for the holiday
Ctrip also noted that flight reservations for the holiday increased by 300 percent over last year, with a price increase of about 15 percent from non-holiday travel dates. The surge in flight ticket sales follows a record year for Chinese outbound travel.
It wasn’t only Ctrip that saw prices surge for the holidays. A travel package through China-based UTour Group to Dubai and Egypt, for example, was priced at $1,750 (RMB 12,000) for an end of September departure, but has increased to $2,041-2,187 (RMB 14,000-15,000) for an October 1 departure. UTour, however, said that it hasn’t seen any significant price fluctuation from the previous year, but the prices are higher compared to non-holiday travel dates.
According to data from CYTS, destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are popular during this year’s holiday. The platform offers a 16-day tour of the UK and Ireland that departs on September 22. Alibaba’s Fliggy said that Turkey has seen the number of bookings double from last year due to the depreciation of the Turkish lira.
Data from online travel agency Lvmama shows that more Chinese travelers are booking their trips earlier, with many booking for the upcoming holiday in early July. The company noted that domestic tours were mostly booked in August. The company’s top ten outbound travel destinations were Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, the United States, Indonesia, Canada, Malaysia and Australia.