After several national government departments urged officials in Sanya, a popular destination in Hainan Province, over the weekend to control the resort’s National Day hotel prices, local travel agencies claim that unreasonably high prices for vacationing in the southern resort have led to a 30 percent drop in the number of tourists from Shanghai.
However, Shanghai tourists, who normally account for roughly 25 percent of domestic travelers to Sanya during the National Day holiday, have consequently been planning trips abroad, mostly to Europe, local agencies said Monday.
He Jing, a spokesperson for Shanghai-based major online travel agency, said that pricing schemes by hotels in Yalong Bay and Dadonghai have significantly affected the company’s Sanya sales this year, but declined to say by how much.
She said that average room rates for five-star hotels are currently as high as 1,400 yuan ($ 209) per night for September 30 to October 6. Four-star hotels average out at prices of 580 yuan ($ 87) per night, while three-stars are charging 350 yuan ($ 52), she added.
"There are a few luxury hotels with villas available, the cheapest of which are around 21,000 yuan ($ 3,135) per night, which is still considerably more than last year," she said.
According to Shi Jianjun, chairman of Shanghai Ever Bright International Travel Agency, the increase in hotel prices for Sanya has helped their Europe sales this year.
"Despite the fact that traveling abroad is more expensive, local tourists have shown a great interest in visiting Europe this year, believing that this will at least give more value for money," he told the Global Times Monday.
Meanwhile, the drop in Sanya sales has helped Spring Tours increase their sales to Europe, namely France, Italy and Switzerland, which have roughly grown by 45 percent this year, said Yin Hui, a press officer from the outbound tourism department of the travel agency.
"Places like the UK, Spain and Greece were in the past less appealing, but have been well-booked this year," he said.
The shift in the holiday travel plans of Shanghai tourists follows the request on Sunday by central government bodies for authorities in Sanya to intervene by capping hotel rates.

SOURCE: Global Times
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