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Competition Heats up for Holiday Packages

It's time to plan that summer getaway. Escaping Shanghai's oppressive heat is often the main goal of summer holidays. Therefore destinations such as Yunnan and Shandong provinces, where average temperatures often stay below 30 degrees Celsius, are popular.


Various summer packages are already available.


The old town of Lijiang, and the Shangri-la region in Yunnan are drawing the most attention, according to He Jing, spokeswoman at Ctrip.com, China's major online travel company.


One can choose a seven-day package, including roundtrip flight and accommodation, to both places for 3,910 yuan (US$488).


Beach cities such as Dalian in Liaoning Province, Qingdao in Shandong Province and Sanya on Hainan Island are also popular choices.


According to Shanghai Spring Travel Agency, five-day packages to Dalian and Qingdao cost about 2,000 yuan, which includes hotel and flight.


For budget travelers, destinations like Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province and water towns close to Shanghai prove to be ideal getaways.


In addition, family packages - two adults and one child under the age of 13 - are also popular in July and August.


"On our Hong Kong tours, children can travel at half price," Ctrip's He said.


For overseas trips, Australia and Russia are good choices as both countries have recently adjusted travel policies towards Chinese tourists. Australia will open to all Chinese citizens on August 1. Russia has allowed Chinese tourists to travel visa free since April.


A one-week trip to Sydney costs about 10,000 yuan including flight and accommodation. A trip to Moscow or Saint Petersburg in Russia for the same length of time costs about 8,000 yuan and also includes accommodation and flight.


(Shanghai Daily June 21, 2006)



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