More tourists are shunning crowded tourist spots during the National Day holidays and seeking a different sort of holiday experience-- tranquility and freedom-- by organizing their own trips.
A survey by the Guangzhou Tourism Administration's holiday office found that 3.67 million residents planned to travel during the week-long holiday, which starts Friday.
But travel agencies have yet to feel the benefit of the holiday business. Liang Zhiyi, a manager fro Guangdong Nanhu International Travel Service, said only 4,000 people had signed up for its "golden week" packages, a drop from last year's 7,000.
Bookings for popular routes to Yunnan, Zhangjiajie and the Yangtze River were faring the worst, he said.
"This is a bit unexpected, though business in the previous May Day "golden week" and Lunar New Year holidays wasn't any better, Liang was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying.
The company slashed prices for its "golden week" packages in last-ditch effort to attract customers, he added.
Fed up with crowds at popular tourist destinations and the hectic itinerary of package tours, many experienced travelers were planning journeys and exploring new destinations by themselves.
"Travel used to be an eye-opening activity for most people. Now that they have traveled quite a lot, they just want to relax. They want to be their own bosses rather than listening to a tour guide during the holidays," Liang said.
Li Yin, a resident, said the week-long holiday is a chance for relaxation and family reunions rather than a date with hordes of tourists.
On a friend's recommendation, Li plans to spend three days in Pinghai, a small, remote harbor town in eastern Guangdong known for its tranquility.
"I am really upset by crowds cramming tourist spots during "golden week. We can settle everything from planning the itinerary to booking hotel rooms via the Internet before setting off," Li said.
"It is more time consuming and a bit more expensive to arrange everything by yourself, but this makes the trip more fun and enjoyable," Li added.