Bargain hunters fuel post-holiday travel boom

Travel fever may have subsided with the end of the National Day holiday week, but for those who have saved up their paid vacation, the best is yet to come.

Lin Limiao has booked a weeklong trip to Japan for the second week of November.

“I didn’t go out during the holiday to avoid the crowds,” the Beijing resident says. “I save my traveling for after the holiday.”

Lin paid a little more than 1,200 yuan ($182) for his round trip flight tickets between Beijing and Nagoya, a flight that would have cost more than 4,000 yuan during the holiday period.

“The hotel I booked is 300-400 yuan ($46-$61) a night, a third of what it would have cost,” Lin says.

Lin is one of an increasing number of travelers who are choosing to take time off and travel after the Golden Week holiday to take advantage of lower prices and quality tours.

Prices of outbound travel packages generally tend to fall 10-30 percent after seasonal holidays, according to Beijing Utour International Travel Service, a major travel operator.

“We’ve seen more people taking trips between mid-to-late October and January over the years,” says Li Mengran, Utour’s publicity officer.

Middle-aged people and seniors used to make up the mainstay of the post-holiday travel army, but an increasing number of young people born in the 1980s and ’90s have joined their ranks, thanks to the advent of paid vacation, Li explains.

Southeast Asia, Japan, Singapore, Europe and Australia have witnessed the largest drop in prices, which makes them ideal destinations for post-holiday travelers, according to Utour.

For example, an 11-day trip to Spain and Portugal currently organized by the travel agency has fallen 8,800 yuan to 11,000 yuan, and a nine-day trip to the United States during the year-end shopping discount season now costs less than 10,000 yuan.

Domestic travel costs have also declined across the board.

Hotel prices in Beijing and Shanghai have generally dropped by 30 percent, and those in Fujian province’s Xiamen and Sanya in Hainan province have fallen about 50 percent, says Chen Xiaotian, a senior executive in charge of accommodation with online travel giant Ctrip.

Many popular domestic flight costs have been cut by 30-40 percent, with other routes seeing reductions of up to 60 percent.

“This year has seen the hottest post-holiday travel,” Chen says.

The post-holiday group travel market has increased by 20 percent compared to the same period last year, while the number of individual travelers has grown by 40 percent, according to Ctrip.

Bookings through Ctrip to Yunnan’s Lijiang, Xiamen and Sanya witnessed a more than 40 percent rise, while those to Vietnam, Europe and the Philippines have increased by 50 percent.

Those benefits have turned Lin into an off-season travel veteran.

He has planned to take his next break from home before Spring Festival.

“I’ll find a quiet place with few people then for sure,” he says.

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