A new flight booking study reveals that more Chinese than ever before are jetting off to the United States to celebrate National Day Golden Week, the busiest time for tourism in China, when citizens take holidays and reunite with families.
Forward bookings to the US are up 8.1 per cent for the busy period, September 21 to October 7, according to ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by analysing 14 million reservation transactions each day.
This out-performs all other long-haul destinations which saw an increase of 3.5 per cent. Improved air connectivity is driving the US as a destination with more secondary cities in China seeing direct flights to the States.
Last year’s departures were crowded around September 22 to 26, largely because the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, September 27, fell closer to Golden Week. This year the festival falls on September 15 which has had the effect of shortening the average length of stay. More people are staying six to nine nights as opposed to 10 to 12 nights.
Los Angeles remains the top destination in the US for Chinese visitors with a market share of 26.9 per cent. But New York City, which is in second spot with a 20.3 per cent share, is currently 10.2 per cent ahead in forward bookings compared to last year, due to the city’s improved connectivity with China.
Some secondary destinations, like Washington, Boston and Honolulu, will this year have fewer Chinese visitors from mid-September to early October because of the shorter average length of stays due to the earlier Mid-Autumn Festival.
But Orlando – home of Disney World - is up 170.9 per cent, most likely due to the recent opening of Shanghai Disney, and the Chinese keen to enjoy its American original.
Olivier Jager, ForwardKeys Co-founder and CEO, said: “The US will be preparing for a busy time with Chinese visitors, not least New York City which is gaining in popularity. The States continues to be a magnet for people during Golden Week. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue and grow, specifically at a time when Europe has lost some of its attractiveness.”