Warmth and snow all top picks for year-end travel

Snowy resorts, hot springs and island resorts are the most popular tourist destinations for the upcoming New Year's Day holiday, travel agencies say.

Snowy resorts, hot springs and island resorts are the most popular tourist destinations for the upcoming New Year's Day holiday, travel agencies say.

Winter is traditionally the slow season for tourism across China, but the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays have triggered a slight travel boom.

As the temperature keeps going down, hot springs are suitable for most age groups and are gaining popularity, online travel operator Tongcheng said.

Tours to the famous Tangshan hot spring in neighboring Nanjing, and hot spring resorts in Wuxi and Hangzhou, are favored by Shanghai residents, they added.

Snowy weather has also led to a travel boom to Harbin, Mudanjiang and Yanbian which feature beautiful winter scenery, Shanghai-based travel operator Lvmama said.

A five-day itinerary to Harbin and Yabuli ski resort and a six-day tour to Changbai Mountain and Jingpo Lake during the holiday have been sold out, according to the travel website.

Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou are where most tourists depart from during the holidays, as many white-collar workers in big cities resort to travel to relieve pressure at the end of the year, it said.

Shanghai tourists prefer five-star hotels more than people from anywhere else in China, and minsu (bed-and-breakfast accommodation) is also gaining popularity among locals, according to travel review website Mafengwo.

At the same time, Shanghai has some of the highest hotel spending among cities in China, with spending on five-star hotels in the city reaching 967 yuan per night on average, compared with 798 yuan in Guangzhou, and 768 yuan in Beijing, according to the website.

The number of independent tourists among Shanghai residents is also increasing rapidly, it said.

Tour itineraries ranging between three and six days are the most popular during the holiday, and cities with mild temperatures in the south such as Xiamen, Beihai and Zhanjiang are favored, according to Shanghai Spring Tour.

Traditionally popular winter destinations like Sanya are not as favored since many local tourists eye cities with less visitors, like Beihai and Zhanjiang, it said.

There is a 20 percent increase in tourists heading to Hong Kong and Macau for shopping tours compared with the same period last year, the travel agency said.

When heading out of the country, Japan, Thailand, the United States, Italy, Vietnam and Turkey are among the most popular destinations to holiday, according to Ctrip.


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