China’s Spring Festival or Lunar New Year is without a doubt China’s largest travel period, with millions of Chinese workers traveling home to celebrate the holiday with their families. However, that doesn’t mean that the holiday isn’t significant in terms of leisure travel, with more and more affluent Chinese consumers opting for travel abroad. New data from the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) shows that not only are more Chinese families going abroad this year, but more of these families are opting for self-planned trips.

The CNTA believes 50 percent of Chinese families traveling during this year’s Lunar New Year festival will take self-planned trips

CNTA estimates that over 50 percent of Chinese families will take a self-planned trip during the seven-day break for the Lunar New Year. 46.2 percent of travelers arranged tour group trips via travel agencies, with 40 percent and 6.2 percent opting for trips through “well-known travel agents” and “low-price products offered by lesser-known agencies.”

While it’s unclear what constitutes the difference between the two types of group travel packages the CNTA cites, the administration is optimistic about the development of the Chinese travel market in terms of consumer tastes.

The CNTA believes these trends illustrate how more Chinese consumers are stressing quality over price when arranging travel

Hou Zhengang, inspector of the CNTA’s Comprehensive Coordination Department was quoted as saying: “Travelers have become more rational when choosing tour products… This is what we are delighted to see and we encourage travelers to choose products and routes with full consideration of their budgets and interests but not slavishly attracted by price.”

Of course, the overwhelming number of these travelers will be traveling domestically, an estimated 383 million domestic travelers will be on the move during the week-long break. Nonetheless, the fact that more Chinese consumers are prioritizing leisure travel over more traditional leisure activities during the break illustrates the growing importance of leisure travel and is more encouraging news about the development of the market for tourism stakeholders.

Some 6.5 million Chinese tourists are expected to go abroad for the holiday this year

Moreover, a relatively large number of these travelers will be going overseas. Ctrip estimates that 6.5 million Chinese tourists will go abroad this year for the holiday, an increase of 7 percent in year over year growth. Last year’s Lunar New Year Holiday saw 6.15 million Chinese tourists going abroad.

The top overseas destinations, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, will likely be Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and Vietnam.

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