China is entering the week-long lunar New Year holiday and 6.5 million travelers are expected to spend that break overseas, splashing billions of dollars over the break, according to a report by the country’s tourism authority and travel website Ctrip. The number of tourists this year is expected to mark a 5.7% rise from the 6.15 million over the same festive season in 2017, CNBC reported.
Chinese New Year begins on 16 February and is celebrated by a quarter of the world’s population.
Each traveler is expected to spend 9,500 Chinese yuans (about $1,500) during their trips, which points to nearly $10 billion in total from those international tourists over just one week. That amount is 5% higher than the average amount they spent last year, according to a report by the China Tourism Academy and Ctrip. Travelers will spend thousands of yuans in some Southeast Asian countries to over 160,000 yuans ($25,200) to Antarctica—a trendy destination for the affluent Chinese.
Top destinations include Thailand, Japan, Singapore and the US. South Korea’s fall from the top destination list is benefiting other countries on the list. Singapore’s tourism authority said this week that China has become its top market in terms of visitor numbers for the first time ever. They were already the biggest spenders on the island state.
With an increasingly affluent and growing middle class, the Chinese are now more willing to spend on experiences and are back in the luxury market. Service providers are upping their game to cater to these needs.
“We are into creating experiences and this makes customers come back to us,” Christoph Schmidinger, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, told CNBC on Thursday.
However, reports of unruly tourist behavior are not making Beijing very happy. In a circular issued last week with advice to outbound travelers, the Chinese tourism academy reminded tourists to “be mindful of civilized travel”.
The Chinese tourists were told to “abide by law, respect local order and customs, behave decently, be polite to others” so as to “reflect a good image of Chinese tourists”, the circular issued in Chinese said. Tourists are also reminded to not doodle and etch graffiti. Chinese tourists have defaced ancient relics, including a 3,500-year-old Egyptian temple in recent years, prompting outrage even in China.
China’s State Oceanic Administration this month also issued rules for visitor behavior to Antarctica that will restrict any damage to wildlife. Those who breach the rules face a ban of up to three years from the region.