AIR POLLUTION
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China: Around The Nation

Northern China’s smog exodus sparks Lunar New Year luxury hotel rate rise near to 100,000 yuan per night

Holiday travellers flee air pollution, pushing up demand for top hotels in southern coastal resorts over week-long holiday

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 5:03pm

The cost of luxury rooms at top hotels in the Chinese resort of Sanya – in the province of Hainan furthest south from the nation’s smog-hit north – soared to almost 100,000 yuan (HK$112,000) per night over the Lunar New Year holiday as people tried to escape the air pollution, mainland media reported.

The Shanghai Morning Post said the serious smog problems affecting the northeast of the country made many people rush to book up holidays in the south of the country.

Smog grips Beijing as big factories keep belching over the Lunar New Year break

On Saturday, the first day of the annual holiday, Beijing recorded levels of PM2.5 – fine pollutants measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter that are most hazardous to human health – of 547 micrograms per cubic metre, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said.

The World Health Organisation’s recommended safe level in 25 micrograms.

The newspaper reported luxury hotels in Sanya had been heavily booked up over the Lunar New Year holiday.

January 23 to 29 was the peak period for hotel bookings nationwide, with the first two days of the new year – January 28 and 29 – both heavily booked up by travellers, according to data provided by Ctrip.com, the nation’s leading online travel website.

“Spending the new year at a hotel has became a increasingly popular choice for many consumers,” a Ctrip spokesman said.

“There are two reasons. Firstly it is because people can avoid having to spend a lot of time over the new year preparing for festive feasts and then cleaning up their homes afterwards.

“Also, many luxury hotels are actually not charging much more than normal day rates, including those in Beijing and Shanghai.”

Beijing’s ‘smog refugees’ flee the capital for cleaner air down south

Demand for hotel rooms in other southern areas, including coastal cities such as Zhuhai, in Guangdong province, Xiamen on the coast of Fujian province, and Dali and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan province, had also been “intense” over the peak period, Ctrip’s data showed, according to the report.

This huge demand had led to price increases of between four and five times for hotel rooms, the report said.

The Ctrip data showed spending the night of Lunar New Year’s Eve – January 27 – at the prestigious 396-room The St Regis Sanya Yalong Bay Resort would have cost a minimum of 28,888 yuan, with the most expensive lodge, which includes with a private swimming pool, priced at 98,888 yuan.

The cost of a standard room at other five-star hotels in Sanya, including the Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, Mangrove Tree Resort and InterContinental was price at a minimum of 5,000 yuan, with most rooms reported to have been full booked.

The report added that demand for rooms after the holiday – unlike in past years – remained strong, with strong bookings up until after Valentine’s Day on February 14.