The joint report from Ctrip, one of China’s biggest online travel booking sites with 250 million users, and the China Tourism Research Institute showed the average Chinese tourist will spend slightly more than 8,000 yuan, or approximately $1,200 during this holiday.
The one-week vacation surrounding Oct. 1 to celebrate the country’s National Day has turned into one of the biggest spending periods of the year.
The top destinations for outbound Chinese travelers saw some expected favorites: South Korea, Thailand and Japan all ranked in the top three. According to the report, South Korea remained the top choice because it was perceived as cost-effective, with convenient flights and relatively easy-to-obtain visas.
Ease of visa access also proved crucial. Ctrip saw an increase of 3,500 percent in inquiries about Morocco for the holiday period. The North African country decided to relax visa restrictions for Chinese tourists in June.
This Golden Week, Chinese tourists can obtain a visa on arrival or travel visa-free in 57 countries and regions, another record high according to the report from Ctrip and CTRI.
The United Kingdom was also named as a rising destination. The weakening of the pound from Brexit had already peaked the interest of Chinese travelers in recent months looking to make use of favorable exchange rates. Travelers who had booked U.K. trips for this week were rewarded further when British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Sunday that she would trigger a plan to leave the EU by March 2017, sending the currency to record lows.
Hong Kong, which has fallen out of favor with their mainland Chinese cousins, received 722,311 mainland Chinese visitors from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, immigration department data showed.
The city’s retail association said Friday that the type of Chinese tourists coming to Hong Kong for the holiday are more budget-oriented than other travelers. With Golden Week being a rare opportunity to have an entire week off, wealthier consumers would use it for longer-haul travel.
Hong Kong‘s retail environment is still struggling. The city saw its retail sales fall 10.5 percent in August. The figures mark the 18th straight month of declining sales for the special administrative region of China.