Despite it not being a national holiday in China, there is growing interest in travel between Christmas and New Year’s (only January 1st is an official holiday). The lack of a national holiday, however, has not prevented many from traveling during this week, according to data from the popular family travel website Lvmama, as the company saw a 30 percent increase in bookings from the previous year.

Lvmama claims in its “2018 Dual Holiday Tourism Forecast” that 39 percent of Chinese tourists are now combining paid leave with weekends and company holidays for winter trips, with many using three days of paid leave to take eight total days off for travel, indicating that more companies are offering additional days off at the end of the year. A separate report from competitor Tuniu emphasized the trend that Chinese travelers are using their paid time off to extend the New Year holiday.

Popular tour package choices on Lvmama’s platform included “winter getaways,” “ice and snow tours,” “hot springs,” and “couples island tours.”

winter holiday shopping

Chinese tourists may be spending less per trip, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to shop, particularly when holiday sales are around. Photo: Shutterstock

The online travel agency attributed the rise in off-peak holiday bookings to the expansion of tour package offerings for this time period, as well as Lvmama’s “easy go, easy pay” promotion, which allows travelers to pay for the booking after the travel experience. In addition, as consumers are more aware of holiday sales promotions abroad, many have booked tours in Europe that include visits to well-known shopping centers. Lvmama said that interest in holiday shopping in Europe increased 60 percent from 2017. 

Lvmama’s offer to travel now and pay later helped boost sales 30 percent year-on-year in the period

As noted in previous winter travel reports, the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 has generated interest in trips to ski resorts for outdoor activities. Additionally, the top 10 overseas destinations on Lvmama for the travel period were Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Mauritius, France, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and Germany, respectively. Disneyland in Shanghai and Paris was also a popular tourist attraction with tickets booked on the platform.

Tuniu’s report had a similar top 10 outbound destination list, though it included Switzerland and Italy instead of Australia and Mauritius. It also noted that Hong Kong Disneyland was a popular tourist attraction for the holiday.

Lvmama noted that interest in Japan for the holiday was for hot springs, mostly in Hokkaido, while Thailand became popular again following the country offering visa-free stays to Chinese citizens. The report also shows that 68 percent of those booking holidays during the period are post-’80s and post-’90s travelers, with the latter demographic increasing by 50 percent from a year earlier. Given this significant increase, the growth in off-peak Chinese outbound travel is only projected to grow, offering more and more possibilities for companies to take advantage of this emerging travel segment.

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