More Chinese are drifting away from celebrating Chinese New Year at home with family. As the lunar New Year ushers in China's longest holiday on 8 February, China's outbound travel will show an upward trend, travel experts said.
According to a survey by Chinese travel planning and booking website Mafengwo, over 30% of Chinese are planning to get away during the annual holiday, which equals in importance to Christmas in the West because of homecoming and merry making traditions.
Respondents of the survey said they wanted to "get far away from relatives". Some of them also felt that "spending New Year at home is getting boring", AFP reported.
"I decided to go abroad this year because my parents are pressuring me to marry," Thailand-bound Chinese traveller Zhang Hao, 30, was quoted as saying in the report. "There was no choice. It's mostly the generation who grew up in the 1990s who are taking off because they were by their parents' side the whole time they were growing up," he added.
China's biggest outbound travel portal Ctrip estimated last month that about six million people will travel for leisure during the New Year's week. Bookings were up 15% for the coming week from the corresponding period in 2015, it said. More than 60% of the bookings have been done for destinations abroad, including Thailand, Japan and Korea.
Sociology professor Gary Wong at Hong Kong University said that the trend was also getting popular among the young people as Lunar New Year is the longest period of holiday in China. However, he added, older generations "still prefer to have the whole family get together".
There are other Chinese who think the annual traditions are critical. "When I was young and unmarried, going home for Lunar New Year to spend time with my parents was merely a way to carry on an ancient tradition," Huang Wei wrote in China Youth Daily, the report said. He added: "Now that I'm over 40 and a husband and father as well as a son, reuniting the family for Spring Festival is a great responsibility."