SHANGHAI (Reuters) – 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 - Travel - Agencies - Countries - Thailand
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.
Growth - Bit - Pax - Spending - Shopping
“We see the growth start to slow a little bit and per pax spending, especially on shopping, declining,” said Hunter Williams, a U.S.-based partner at management consultant firm Oliver Wyman.
The consultancy says that average spending on overseas shopping a year ago was 5,800 yuan ($855), compared with 8,000 yuan around Lunar New Year in 2016.
Economy - Rate - Decades - Economists - Decline
In 2018, the Chinese economy grew at its slowest rate in nearly three decades, and economists expect a further decline this year, in part because of weakening consumer spending.
He Yanping, 26, who works in advertising in Beijing, was among those not venturing too far overseas for Lunar New Year, with an 11-day Malaysia holiday she estimates will cost between 8,000 to 10,000 yuan.
Australia - Problem - Hotels - Visa
“I actually wanted to go to Australia but the problem is that it’s too far, and the hotels and visa are expensive,” she said.
Ctrip said bookings...
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