(Yicai Global) March 12 -- Japan will be the most popular flower tourism destination for Chinese travelers this year as they flock to see the country's cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, with some 600,000 visitors spending as much as CNY8 billion (USD1.3 billion) there.
Tens of thousands of Chinese users have signed up with Ctrip to go on cherry blossom tours, and reservations are peaking, state-backed online news portal The Paper reported, quoting a report from one of China's biggest travel service providers Ctrip.Com International Ltd.
The number of searches for related keywords has more than quadrupled this month from February, the report said. Even though demand is on the up, prices are about 5 to 10 percent lower this year as the yuan has appreciated against the dollar and yen and flight capacity has increased, said Xiao Yinyuan, head of outbound tourism at Ctrip.
Chinese tourists to Japan rose by more than 15 percent last year to nearly 7.4 million, with each spending an average CNY13,400 (USD2,116) , according to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization. More than a million headed to Japan for the cherry blossom bloom in March and April.
Ctrip also released China's top 10 flower tourism destinations, with Wuyuan, known for its rape flower fields, coming out on top. Yuantouzhu in Wuxi, Wuhan University and Shanghai Gucun Park also made the cut thanks to their cherry trees, while West Lake in Hangzhou and Linzhi, Tibet, were preferred for cherry blossom blooms. Luoyang, Henan and Jinggangshan filled out the remaining spots.
Outside of Asia, Europe and North America are popular overseas destinations for people looking to see flowers. Top trips for Chinese tourists including heading to Holland to see tulips, Washington D.C. for sakuras or Bewdley, United Kingdom, to visit the poppy fields.