Shanghai-based online travel agency Lvmama (驴妈妈旅游网), a subsidiary of Joyu Group (景域集团), just released its “2018 Summer Travel Report.” The company saw an 80 percent increase in family travel bookings from last year.

The majority of reservations were made in June, with travel dates set for late July through mid-August. The company said that 60 percent of trips booked on the platform were for longer than five days.

Japan beat out Thailand for the top international destination for Chinese travelers this summer, according to the report. Bookings to European destinations were influenced by the World Cup, with increased interest in vacations to Russia. Interest in travel to Russia tripled due to World Cup enthusiasm in China. Iceland travel also rose.

The World Cup generated interest in travel to Russia and Iceland

The report also noted that destinations in Africa continue to gain in popularity as parents show an interest in cultural family travel. The majority of children booked on family tours abroad were 6-15 years old. The U.S., U.K. and Australia remained the most popular destinations for study tours. One popular U.S. tour on the platform was a tour of the east coast with stops at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Air and Space Museum as well as select New England universities such as Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale.

Island holidays remained popular for Chinese outbound travel this summer. The report mentions Phuket, Da Nang, Bali and Mauritius as the most popular island destinations for travelers this year.

The report notes that short-haul, self-guided tours dominated the domestic travel market this summer. Many of these trips were to cities such as Hangzhou and Zhuhai and included visits to waterparks, which was attributed to higher-than-normal temperatures. Lvmama said waterpark ticket sales doubled from the previous summer. Major scenic destinations also saw an increase in visitors this summer as competition among the scenic areas and theme parks led to promotional offers and various special events.

China’s national scenic areas and theme parks experienced record-high bookings this summer, with Lvmama reporting that sites in central and western China saw a 50 percent increase in bookings through the platform from the previous summer.

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Destinations, Travel Trends