Chinese government data showed only 6.07 million people travelled during the national holiday between October 1-6, a 15.1% drop from the corresponding period last year.
For those who did venture abroad, Japan, Thailand and Singapore ranked as the top three most-booked countries in Asia during the week, according to Chinese travel firm Ctrip, as tourists from the mainland skipped protest-hit Hong Kong for other destinations. The city saw a 50% overall drop for the week in tourism from last year.
Japan remained the most popular destination for Chinese tourists. In the first half of 2019, the nation saw 4.5 million visitors from China, up 11.7% from the same period in 2018. In order of popularity, the top-visited cities were Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo and Nagoya, according to Japanese media.
Over the same week, Japan increased its sales tax from 8% to 10%, but Chinese shoppers – who accounted for 37%, or USD 15.4 billion, of the spending by international visitors to the nation last year – were undeterred.
Thailand – the second-most booked country during golden week, according to Ctrip – saw many repeat travelers return to the country. The nation saw 1.03 million arrivals from China in August, up 19% from 2018.
Guo said these travelers were more budget-conscious than those who traveled to Japan, and enjoyed the good value and picturesque scenery for sharing on social media.
Meanwhile, the Middle East is emerging as a popular shopping destination for Chinese tourists. According to Ctrip, Dubai saw 501,000 travelers from the mainland in the first half of 2019, an 11% increase from last year.
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