It’s an auspicious year for Chinese nuptials, and tying the knot overseas is now in vogue.
WEDDINGS Destination weddings are still a novel concept to the Chinese, who prefer to hold their weddings locally and seldom go overseas.
"The whole idea of holding a wedding outside of one’s hometown or city and flying guests overseas is not popular,” said Rick Xie, office manager, Country Holidays.
Overseas weddings, however, are not uncommon for wealthy Chinese families. Charles Wang, director of Royal Light Travel, said: “Guam has lots of white churches and the Pacific Islands Club is popular among young Chinese who want a themed wedding.” Last year, he organised four weddings in Guam.
Such wedding packages cost about RMB100,000 (US$15,863) each couple, who travel with an entourage of relatives and friends and book between 20 and 25 hotel rooms.
Another popular destination for weddings is Boracay, made famous by Mandarin singer Fish Leong who held her wedding there. “The young generation likes to follow such stars,” said Wang. It costs about RMB80,000 a couple to hold a wedding in Boracay.
HONEYMOONS Travelling abroad for honeymoons, likewise, has not taken off among Chinese newlyweds.
Xie said: “For Shanghainese, Sanya is still the number one honeymoon destination as it’s nearer to home, followed by Hangzhou for its beautiful environment and the lower cost. Yunnan is also popular, besides Phuket and Bali.”
VariArts Travel Group, CEO and founder, Lin Xu, lamented the lack of product variation for honeymoon packages in the Chinese market, which favours Europe as a honeymoon destination due to its romantic associations.
On the other hand, the growing availability of cheap flights and Chinese-speaking groundhandlers has upped the appeal of Asian destinations such as the Philippines, Cambodia and Malaysia. Beach resorts and urban luxury hotels are top choices in these countries.
Xu said: “People are spending more as their demands grow more sophisticated.” Prices vary greatly depending on destinations, but could reach six figures if extra services are requested, he added.
High-end consumers prefer a private tour with out-of-the-ordinary experiences, such as a castle stay in southern France, a candlelight dinner in a wild safari camp and a private yacht cruise. Such trips are often accompanied by local photographers.
"For Shanghainese, Sanya is still the number one honeymoon destination as it’s nearer to home.”
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