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HK, Macao, Taiwan stay attractive for travelers

Outbound travel to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao remains popular with mainland travelers during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday season, an online survey has showed.


About 11 percent of people polled in an online survey released by market research firm Nielsen during the weekend picked overseas travel destinations over domestic ones for the coming vacation, with the top three places for short-haul trips being Hong Kong (60 percent), Taiwan (29 per cent) and Macao (23 percent).


"In these challenging economic times, travelers on the mainland are looking for ways to save, including organizing trips themselves and planning short- to medium- haul trips," said Grace Pan, head of travel and leisure research at Nielsen's China operations.


The number of tourists from the Chinese mainland visiting Taiwan during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday season, which starts next week, will hit 10,000 travelers, Oma Hai, chairman of the China Travel Agencies Association and director of ProTour Travel Co in Taiwan, told China Daily last week .


"That means 1,200 mainland tourists on each of the weeklong holiday, compared with 400 tourists each day since Dec 15 when direct flights to the island from the mainland were launched," she said.


Similarly, many mainland travel agencies said tour group packages to Taiwan have all been booked up.


"All the 400 seats in our Taiwan tour groups were booked 20 days before the deadline and we have at least one group leaving for the island every day of the holiday period," said Zhang Qingzhu, a marketing manager with China Comfort Travel Ltd.


The number of tourists visiting Taiwan is currently less than that of Hong Kong but that could have to do with the limit imposed on mainland travelers to the island, Zhang said.


(China Daily January 19, 2009)