Tourists from China are heading overseas in greater numbers than ever to celebrate Chinese New Year – the Year of the Dog – next week.

Daily international departures are ahead 11% on a comparable period last year, according to latest figures from travel flight booking data analysis firm ForwardKeys.

Chinese travellers are heading for destinations around the world, including many in Asia.

But they are avoiding South Korea, owing to a diplomatic rift following the deployment of THAAD missiles there.

Chinese travellers are making an early start from the beginning of their winter break at the end of January with figures already significantly ahead, ForwardKeys’ findings show.

Current bookings suggest that travel will begin to peak from February 10-14, ahead of the Chinese New Year on February 16 and the following Golden Week holiday.

Japan, Thailand and Taiwan hold their positions as the top three destinations while New Zealand tops the list of the fastest growing destinations – ahead 30% on last year, followed by Vietnam, ahead 22.5%, and Hong Kong, ahead 18.3%.

ForwardKeys chief executive and co-founder Olivier Jager said: “The Chinese are enjoying more and more foreign travel as their outlook becomes increasingly international.

“It means that businesses have an excellent opportunity to provide services and goods to a growing Chinese clientele that is increasingly demanding and affluent.

“Purchases made en route play a big part in Chinese activity when travelling, which is why our latest figures will be of particular interest to global and duty-free retailers.”