By Tu Lei
Hordes of summer tourists fleeing smoggy Beijing for temperate Europe have driven up ticket prices over the last few weeks.
The round-trip tickets prices from Beijing to London are now around 12,000 yuan ($1,772.05) between the mid-July and the end of August, up 30 percent month-on-month, figures from travel service provider yoee.com show Monday.
Round-trip tickets to Paris are about 8,000 yuan ($1,181.39), up 20 percent, and the round-trip tickets to the US are around 13,000 yuan ($1,919.73) as well, up by 30 percent as well, yoee said, adding Thai Airways and Emirates have raised some international flight prices of first and business class seats.
"The flights to Europe have shown a strong comeback after flattening out for two months due to the Iceland volcano and strikes of European airlines," said Wang Yili, director of the marketing department of yoee.com.
The depreciation of the Euro also attracts many Chinesebuyers, and July and August is the peak-shopping season due to the exchange rate discount, Wang added.
The euro fell against the yuan to 8.54 yuan ($1.26) Monday, according to the figures from Bank of China, compared with 10.25 yuan ($1.51) early in December of last year, which means any consumption in the European Zone is at least 20 percent cheaper than before.
That gives airlines another reason to jack up prices.
A total of 54 million outbound trips are expected to be made this year, up 11 percent year-on-year, said the National Tourism Administration.
"Summer is the peak season for traveling, resulting in a rising flights tickets prices," said a travel agent surnamed Jing for China Youth Travel Service. She added that trips to France, Italy and Switzerland are the most popular destinations, with prices hitting around 14,000 yuan ($2,067.40) per person.