Some parents actively avoid trying to "keep up with the Joneses", and are finding other ways to help their children.
Wang Haifeng, who works for a State-owned enterprise, said rather than register her son, a sixth grader in Beijing, for an intensive, tiring study tour that requires travelling to a distant country, she would prefer he stayed at home to rest or participated in relaxing activities nearby.
In August, she sent her son on a tour to Baiyangdian, Hebei province, with a dozen children of similar age. During the three-day trip, they conducted research into the quality of the local water.
When he returned home, her son produced a report in which he detailed the things he had seen, felt and discovered on the tour.
"The trip cost just 1,000 yuan, but my son gained as much as he would have on a trip overseas, which might be 20 times more expensive," she said.
A survey conducted by iResearch, a consultancy in Beijing, showed that children participated in 2.6 million domestic study tours last year.
In December, the Ministry of Education, along with 10 other ministries and commissions, released a series of guidelines to encourage primary and middle schools to organize educational excursions for students.
Many industry insiders saw it as an opportunity to further develop and tap the market potential.
Zhang Jie said bookings on Ctrip for domestic study tours during the summer vacation rose by 140 percent compared with last year, with each tour costing an average of 4,000 yuan.
"That figure is definitely set to rise in the future," she said.