Tourist destinations featuring snowy scenery or tropical landscapes are in a tight race to attract New Year's guests, travel agencies said.
Online travel agency Lvmama said in a report that going to northern provinces for hot springs and merry wintertime views, or visiting southern areas such as Guangdong and Hainan to celebrate on a sun-kissed beach, are increasingly popular options for a countdown to 2019.
Winter, and especially the year's end, used to be a slack season for tourism. However, reservations for packages on Christmas and the New Year's Day holiday have seen a year-on-year rise of 30 percent, with the last two days of the year expected to see a travel boom, according to Lvmama.
"Winter tourism is invigorated by increasing supplies of snow and tropical island sightseeing tour packages," it said.
For the New Year's Day holiday, which extends from Sunday to Tuesday this year, the three most popular domestic destinations on Lvmama's platform are Sanya, Hainan province, which features a warm climate, and Harbin and Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province, which are famous for their snow scenery, according to the agency.
Among overseas destinations, Japan, which is famous for snow scenery and thermal springs, and Thailand, with an attractive warm climate, are the top two popular destinations for Chinese travelers for the New Year's Day break, according to Tuniu, another online travel agency.
They are followed by Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Indonesia and Germany, Tuniu said.
In addition to the attractive warm climate, preferential visa policies given by Thailand's government attract Chinese travelers as well, according to Tuniu.
"Visa-on-arrival is free of charge from Nov 15 to Jan 13, and e-visa-on-arrival (EVOA) will open to Chinese travelers in the near future, prompting Chinese travelers' interest in visiting Thailand," Tuniu said.
Japan, meanwhile, has been the top choice on the new year traveling wish lists of users on both Tuniu and Lvmama.
Li Qiuyan, director of Lvmama's branding department, said the number of travelers reserving packages to Japan on its platform for the New Year's Day holiday has risen by 30 percent year-on-year.
"Nearly 30 percent of our users have traveled to Japan twice or more, and some of them even make an annual visit to the nation," she said.
Chinese travelers holding tourist visas for Japan for two or more visits within three years will be able to apply for a multi-entry visa to the country, without submitting a financial statement, beginning on Jan 4, according to the Consulate General of Japan in Shanghai.