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May 20, 2016

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Holidays are not what they used to be

CITY residents are raising their holiday expectations, demanding once-in-a-lifetime experiences when their annual vacation time comes around, the Shanghai World Travel Fair 2016 revealed yesterday.

The four-day event, held at the Shanghai Exhibition Center until May 22, features exhibitors from 50 countries and is expected to attract about 60,000 visitors.

The number of people wishing to book theme holidays is up 20 percent over two years ago, according to Shanghai travel agencies.

Among the most popular holidays are those with a sport, adventure or culinary focus.

For example, a big seller at the fair this year is a football summer camp where children live at Real Madrid and Valencia football clubs and get to meet the players, said Wang Xing, a manager of Shanghai Spring Tour, which is organising the trip.

It is also offering a journey to the North Pole, which is mainly attracting adventurers in their 50s and 60s because they have the time and the disposable income to afford the 100,000 yuan (US$16,129) price tag.

For people of a more epicurean bent, there are some tasty options.

“Travel is an enjoyment of life and I want to make it slow,” said Grace Zheng, a securities firm employee who went on a 20,000-yuan wine-tasting trip last year, visiting several vineyards and wineries in France.

“It is a pleasant journey for a wine lover,” she said.

Liu Deyan, an associate professor at the Shanghai Institute of Tourism at Shanghai Normal University, said: “Compared with the past, tourists do not want a trip that covers all the major scenic spots in a destination. They would rather choose tours that cater for their individual desires.”

Many tourists now prefer traveling to the same destination more than once, but exploring it differently each time, she said.


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