China expects Spring Festival tourist boom

China is expecting a travel frenzy as more people plan trips during the upcoming seven-day Spring Festival holiday, data from research institutes and travel agencies showed.

According to a survey conducted by the China Tourism Academy, more than 76.8 percent of the respondents said they are willing to travel during the holiday, up from 36.5 percent in the same period last year.

Chinese tourist trips are estimated to rise 20 percent year on year to hit 211 million during the holiday, while tourism revenue will reach 126.7 billion yuan (20.16 billion U.S. dollars), up 25 percent from a year earlier, according to the academy

Domestic hotel bookings increased at Ctrip.com, a leading online travel agency in China, with Xiamen, Beijing and Hong Kong seeing the largest volume of hotel reservations for the holiday, which runs from Feb. 9 to 15.

Kuxun.cn, another popular Chinese travel agency, said that as of the end of January, outbound tourists accounted for about 70 percent of its clients who had signed up for traveling during the Spring Festival holiday. Despite higher air tickets and hotel expenses, trips to Southeast Asian nations, especially Thailand, increased the most.

According to a branch agency of China CYTS Tours Holding Co. in Anhui Province, its clients booking outbound trips during the holiday jumped by around 50 percent from a year earlier.

The travel fever may continue through 2013 as the government is set to implement a tourism law, which will help regulate the travel market, and a tourism development outline, which will promote paid vacations.

Xinhua