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January 13, 2014

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Snowy resorts are hotspots for New Year breaks

HOLIDAYS to snow-covered destinations made popular in a reality TV show are for the first time outselling breaks to seaside resorts during the Chinese New Year, city travel agencies said yesterday.

In one episode of “Where Are We Going, Dad?” on Hunan Satellite Television, five Chinese celebrity fathers traveled with their children to Mudanjiang City in the northeastern Heilongjiang Province to demonstrate their parenting skills through completing tasks amid a beautiful icy landscape.

And although top prices of tour packages to northeast China have soared above 10,000 yuan (US$1,612) during the Spring Festival break, they have almost sold out, major online travel operator Ctrip said.

Traditionally, holidays to seaside resorts in warm locations like the southern Hainan Province have been bestsellers for the Chinese New Year.

“Tours to winter resorts have sold so well that even products priced at more than 10,000 yuan are being grabbed, with tourists prepared to travel first class just to experience sleeping on rustic heated brick beds,” said He Yong, deputy general manager of Ctrip’s tourism business.

“This is unbelievable, compared to the past,” added He.

Despite soaring prices, most trips to ski destinations during the festival are now sold out.

Because of the popularity of the TV show, about 80 percent of trips had already been booked last month, Ctrip said.

The price of a six-day trip to Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang, and the Yabuli ski resort during the holiday has reached 10,783 yuan — double the cost at other times of year.

With accommodation limited, even the most basic rooms cost several hundred yuan a night, Ctrip said.

The Shanghai Datong Travel Agency also said its tours to icy spots have sold well this year.

However, many travelers are still seeking warmer climes for the holiday. Prices of trips to seaside resort Sanya in Hainan have also risen significantly.

A five-day package has been selling for 4,060 yuan, compared to 2,500 yuan at other times, said Ctrip.



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