Trade tensions with the United States and a slowing economy are keeping Chinese tourists to budget-friendly destinations closer to home for the Lunar New Year holiday, with more likely opting for Bangkok than Sydney or San Francisco.
The week-long holiday, which takes place this year in the first week of February, is one of China’s longest breaks and over 400 million people are expected to travel across the country for family reunions, according to Chinese travel agency Ctrip. It estimates 7 million will go abroad.
Hotels and travel agencies in Asian countries from Thailand to Japan anticipate higher numbers than a year ago of Chinese tourists, who have become a powerful spending force with the ability to make, or break, the fortunes of retailers and tourism brands.
But recently, the numbers going to the United States, Australia and New Zealand have fallen or only show small increases.
Ctrip said bookings indicated the four most popular destinations are Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, all within in seven-hours flying time from Beijing or Shanghai.
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