Lovebirds look to romantic getaways, concerts and exhibitions
With the Qixi Festival, known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, just around the corner, lovebirds are preparing for romantic getaways.
Shanghai-based online travel operator Trip.com said that bookings of rural homestays for the festival falling on Tuesday had surged more than 300 percent from the same period last year, with users in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu being the most active.
Rural minsu (Chinese version of B&B) in Lijiang, Dali, Weihai, Yangshuo and Zhoushan are among the most popular destinations, and the order amount of rural homestays priced over 1,000 yuan per night soared more than 600 percent from last year.
About 75 percent of rural homestay orders for the festival were from female users, according to Trip.com.
"We have received many guests from metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai this summer," said Dai Gangming, head of a rural minsu in Linzhou City, central China's Henan Province, which has all rooms fully reserved for the festival.
"They do not want to visit any tourist attraction, but seek a tranquil farm to escape from the urban concrete jungle and enjoy a leisure time with their loved ones."
Iris Zhang, a Shanghai white-collar worker, has reserved a minsu in suburban Qingpu District for the festival.
"A sense of ritual is important," she said. "My boyfriend gave the option to me and I made a lot of comparison before booking, giving consideration to the environment and facilities."
Travel review website Mafengwo said exhibitions, bazaars, concerts, and experiences related with guochao (China chic) and hanfu (Han-style clothes) are popular ways to celebrate the festival among young people. This is based on the significant growth of relevant key word searches.
An increasing number of lovebirds are making art galleries their dating venues, and the trend is even more obvious in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen, Mafengwo said.
Moreover, cityride is gaining popularity, with relevant searches growing 166 percent in the recent week, as more young people are taking a summer cycling ride after work.
Amusement parks, guofeng-style, or "traditional Chinese fashion" bazaars, hanfu and intangible cultural heritage activities are also popular options for the festival, it said. It added that the popularity index of Shanghai Disney Resort had surged 150 percent in the recent week, and the average popularity index of Happy Valley amusement parks across the nation also grew over 50 percent.
Lvmama, a Shanghai-based online travel operator, said a travel boom had already been witnessed this weekend as many lovebirds advanced their celebration plans to avoid the working day.
The number of travelers on the weekend climbed nearly 40 percent from last weekend with amusement parks, night tours, cycling and camping activities gaining popularity.
Bookings of medium-and-high-end hotels recorded an increase of 52 percent over the weekend from last weekend.
Concerts and bazaars have become new dating options among lovebirds and some popular hotels around concert venues in Shanghai over the weekend have been fully reserved.
"China's tourism market is developing towards a diversified and personalized trend as shown in the traditional festival," said Lu Xulan, a tourism analyst. "This prompts tourism operators to develop and provide more new and diversified options to cater to tourists' demand, which is of significance in boosting tourism consumption and spurring the vitality of the industry".