BEIJING — Travelers from mainland China stuck close to home in Asia during the Lunar New Year, the first holiday after Beijing relaxed its Covid-related border controls.
Hong Kong and Macao were the most popular spots, said Trip.com, citing flight bookings on its platform for the first four days of the Lunar New Year. The seven-day holiday kicked off on Saturday.
Here are the next three most popular overseas destinations for mainland travelers, according to Trip.com:
5. Phuket, Thailand
Flight bookings for travel from the mainland to overseas destinations during the first four days of the holiday quadrupled from a year ago, Trip.com said.
In late December, Beijing announced that beginning Jan. 8 travelers would no longer need to quarantine upon arrival on the mainland, and that Chinese citizens could start to resume leisure travel abroad. The change ended nearly three years of border controls.
However, Japan and South Korea — both popular among Chinese tourists — subsequently imposed temporary restrictions on travelers from China, including limits on visas and quarantining Covid-positive individuals.
Singapore has not announced any changes, while Thailand scrapped its plan to require international visitors to show proof of Covid vaccination, just days after announcing it.
China has seen a wave of Covid infections after Beijing ended most domestic Covid controls in early December. A negative Covid test is still required for travel to the mainland.
In 2019, Chinese outbound tourists spent $54.7 billion on shopping, according to Euromonitor International.