Stronger yuan boosts tourism

Updated: 2015-04-13 08:41


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Stronger yuan boosts tourism

Chinese tourists pose for pictures as sakura blossoms at the Ueno Park in Tokyo, Japan, April 9, 2015. [Photo / CFP] 

Is spending the new saving? Yes, if you travel to Japan or European countries from China.

Christina Liu made up her mind not to buy a Rimowa suitcase for her recent trip to Munich. But she returned with a suitcase even larger than the one she bought last year.

"I'd have felt foolish if I hadn't," said Liu, 28. After a tax refund, the new suitcase costs 1,900 yuan ($306). The same one costs 6,500 yuan at a retailer in Beijing.

Only eight months away from her last trip, Liu said everything feels like it's on a big discount and has become more affordable as the exchange rate of the euro against the yuan fell to a new low of 6.75.

European luxury brand Chanel recently announced that it was reducing the prices of three handbags in China by 20 percent while increasing them in Europe by 20 percent.

Some of its branches in Beijing have already made the adjustment. This is the first time Chanel has cut its prices in the past five years.

Propelled by the euro's depreciation, traveling to Europe is becoming increasingly popular among Chinese tourists this year, said Dai Yu, marketing director of the tourism department at International Inc, the largest online travel agency in China.

With rich tourism resources and a diverse culture, Europe has been a major tourism destination for Chinese travelers.

But Jiang Yiyi, director of the China Tourism Academy's International Tourism Development Institute, said that due to the long hours required by European touring packages and the relatively high costs compared to short journeys to Southeast Asian destinations, European touring products will be on the rise this year but not by a significant amount.

"European destinations are worthy of deep exploration for multiple visits," Dai said.

The number of Ctrip's tour groups to Europe has increased over 100 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period of 2014, while the average price has fallen by about 1,000 yuan.

"Major incentives for Chinese travelers in terms of European traveling products are currency fluctuations as well as price competition among major tourist agencies," Dai said.

Ctrip launched an online travel festival on March 6 in 43 cities across China and provided low-price products, including trips to Europe thousands of yuan cheaper than the prices offered by other online travel agencies.

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