SHANGHAI, China, Oct. 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ctrip, the largest online travel agent in Asia and the second largest in the world, has published its “2018 October National Day Holiday Travel Report,” in which the various Ctrip business units provided insights into trends in both the domestic and outbound Chinese tourism market over the holiday. Ctrip has over 60% market share of online travel in China and is the biggest outbound travel platform for Chinese. About one out of every four Chinese book and search for travel products and services through the Ctrip platform.
Domestic Travel Trends
According to China Tourism Academy (CTA), this year’s 7-day October National Day Holiday saw 726 million tourists traveling throughout China, a year-on-year increase of 9.43%. Tourism revenue for the domestic market reached 599.08 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9.04%.
Chinese traveled to a total of 798 domestic destinations, up from 748 destinations in 2017. While first-tier cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu remained the top departure cities, second and third-tier cities continued to see fast growth in departure numbers with Changzhou, Foshan, Zhuhai, Wuxi and Chongqing departure numbers increasing by more than 200% from the previous year. In terms of spending power, first-tier cities Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai spent the most, with an average per person spend of more than 3,000 RMB (433 USD) while Tianjin, Jinan, Kunming and Hangzhou saw average spending per person of more than 2,900 RMB (418 USD). Second, third and fourth-tier cities such as Nanjing, Xiamen, Qingdao, Guangzhou and Taiyuan saw average spending per person of more than 2,500 RMB (361 USD).
The top five cities for domestic travel remained the usual quintet of Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Chongqing and Chengdu, with Beijing, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Kunming and Sanya registering as the top five destinations for tour groups. Interestingly, online social media has created a new list of hot domestic travel destinations: Ejin Banner in Inner Mongolia was the number one hottest destination with a 386% increase in tourist numbers due to its forest and natural scenery during the Fall. Xigaze in Tibet (182%), Hulunbuir in Inner Mongolia (158%), Dunhuang in Gansu (151%) and Hailar District in Inner Mongolia (122%) all became popular newcomers this year.
Those born during the 1980s (25%) and 1990s (22%) became the main force of travelers during the break with 52% of travelers opting for short trips lasting no more than 3 days. Tujia, which is invested in by Ctrip group, saw 5.5 times more bookings made this National Day Holiday as compared with 2017. From alternative accommodations to hiring local guides, visitors are finding exciting new ways to travel domestically.
According to Ctrip’s Hotel Statistics, travel to surrounding cities saw a year-on-year increase of 50% with the most popular destinations located within the Jiangsu- Zhejiang- Shanghai region. Domestic travel in neighboring cities and provinces proved to be popular during this year’s October National Day Holiday, with Hong Kong becoming a “dark horse destination” for those residing in the Pearl River Delta Metropolitan Region due to the opening of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail.
Launched in September 2018, Ctrip is the first online travel agent to launch a platform allowing travelers to purchase high-speed railway products. Aimed at meeting the cost and personalized travel needs of Chinese travelers, they are able to select over 1700 high-speed railway products to not only have access to cheaper transportation but also combine this with other travel products and services such as accommodation, car rentals, cuisine, shopping and attraction tickets. By the end of 2017, China's total high-speed railway mileage has reached 25,000 kilometers, ranking first in the world. By 2020, this network will cover more than 80 percent of major cities. Due to the convenience of China’s high-speed railway, third and fourth-tier cities are gaining traction as domestic hotspots for travelers. These top five third and fourth-tier Chinese cities for travel this National Holiday were Yinchuan, Nantong, Dunhuang, Jiujiang and Xiangyang. Fast becoming the most preferred travel mode for more and more tourists due to cost and outreach to small and medium-sized travel destinations, high-speed rail has been helping local tourism industries to see greater growth.
According to Ctrip’s Gourmet List findings, eating remains the top favorite activity for travelers during the Holiday. Restaurant bookings made through Ctrip’s Gourmet List platform saw an increase of 300% compared with the previous month. Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu were the top three domestic destinations for food-lovers, while short-haul destinations such as Macau, Hong Kong and Bangkok were the top three most popular outbound destinations. Ctrip Gourmet List was launched in 2016 to provide travelers with easy-to-access food and restaurant recommendations and convenient on-line table booking in major cities around the world. By the end of 2017, Gourmet List covers approximately 15,000 restaurants in 120 popular destinations both in China and around the world. Ctrip Gourmet List has seen triple-digit growth since its launch and continues to rapidly expand the number of restaurants and destinations on its platform.
Outbound Travel Trends
During the October National Day Holiday, Chinese travelers visited more than 1,000 destinations in 100 countries. Fifty-six percent of outbound travelers were females, with 36% of outbound travelers born in the 1980s. This group, along with the 18% of travelers born in the 1990’s, formed the main travel force of this year’s October National Day Holiday. Most visitors traveled with their families (42%) with top departure cities and top spenders being from first-tier cities. Fifty-six percent of all outbound travelers opted for a trip lasting more than a week, with long-haul trips to Europe, Scandinavia, the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand being the most popular as reflected in Ctrip’s flight searches. Trips to the United Kingdom saw steady growth due to five new flight routes from Chinese cities such as Sanya, Wuhan, Xi’an, Chengdu and Beijing.
According to Ctrip’s travel data, Thailand overtook Japan as the top destination for Chinese outbound travelers, with Hong Kong coming in at third place followed by Vietnam and Singapore. South Korea, Croatia, Mexico, Serbia, and Tunisia were the top five dark horse destinations, averaging more than 50% year-on-year growth. Ease of visa contributed greatly to rising interest for the latter three countries.
Flight search data also revealed significant interest in lesser known destinations. Eastern Europe and Central Asia were dark horse regions, with countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Serbia and Uzbekistan starting to appear on Chinese travelers’ radar. Travel searches for Croatia saw a year-on-year increase of 142% due to the World Cup fever, while ease of visa prompted great interest in Rabat, Morocco and Minsk, Belarus.
In addition to flights and hotel bookings and searches, data from Ctrip’s Things to Do (TTD) showed that Chinese outbound travelers continued to spend money on in-depth local experiences and unique travel activities. Thirty-five categories of tour activities were experienced by Chinese travelers during the October Holiday, with the top 6 favorites being sky diving, hot-air balloon rides, scuba-diving, helicopter rides, cooking classes, and off-road racing. iFly Singapore, Skydiving in Queenstown, scuba-diving in Nha Trang, cooking lessons in Chiang Mai and Abu Dhabi F1 Experience became novel experiences for a large number of Chinese travelers during the National Holiday. Bookings made through Ctrip’s Overseas TTD saw a year-on-year increase of over 100%. The top 5 museums were the Prado Museum in Spain, the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium in Pingtung County, Taiwan, Winter Palace in Russia, Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands and The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City.
About Ctrip.com International, Ltd.
Ctrip.com International, Ltd. is a leading travel service provider of accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management in China. It is the largest online consolidator of accommodations and transportation tickets in China in terms of transaction volume. Ctrip enables business and leisure travelers to make informed and cost-effective bookings by aggregating comprehensive travel related information and offering its services through an advanced transaction and service platform consisting of its mobile apps, Internet websites and centralized, toll-free, 24-hour customer service center. Ctrip also helps customers book vacation packages and guided tours. In addition, through its corporate travel management services, Ctrip helps corporate clients effectively manage their travel requirements. Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of the best-known travel brands in China.
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