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The Chinese tourist’s evolution in 2023

The stereotype of a group of Chinese tourists leaving a bus, their cameras ready to shoot, as they go sightseeing in a tourist site.

Chinese tourism travel habits are also changing.

According to recent statistics, Chinese travelers are increasingly turning down group trips to go on an adventure of their own. They seem to have more sense of adventure and want to increasingly immerse themselves in the culture of the countries they visit. They are also less prone to shopping sprees and increasingly eager to have some unforgettable experiences regardless of where they go.

marketing chinese-tourist

According to a study published by Hotels.com, 60% of Chinese tourists are now traveling alone. As confirmed by the survey made by hotels.com, it has been reported that 70% of Chinese customers’ results were traveling against 50% in the previous study.

Before the pandemic, China was the nation spending the most money on travel. The number of Chinese tourists expected for 2023 is still unclear, but the Chinese government is putting all its efforts to revive outbound travels to the pre-pandemic level. 

The shopping budget is shrinking in favor of food and cultural experiences

While Chinese tourists have developed a reputation for splurging on luxury goods when traveling, this trend also seems to be shifting slightly. According to the report, shopping is by far one of the most popular activities.

“The Chinese market has the most experienced travelers, who made enough trips to Hong Kong and Macao and purchased enough watches and bags. They now want to explore the beaches, temples … some exotic culture and culinary things” John Svanström, general manager of Hotels.com Asia Pacific, told China Daily.

Fortune Institute characters based in Beijing also believe that Chinese tourists spend 40% of their travel expenses on luxury shopping. They predict that this will be reduced to 20% in the next five years, however. It’s not necessarily that Chinese tourists are spending less on purchases, but rather spending in other areas will substantially increase.

Young people are more adventurous.

“Young consumers, in particular, rather want to focus their spending on their own comfortable life,” Shaun Rein CEO of China Market Research Group says in the Wall Street Journal. “They want to go to museums, to the beach, they want more cultural activities. This is sort of the end of the bling.”


Consequences for tourism?

Here adaptation is the key to keeping its edge over the competition. It seems that the Chinese tourist overcomes his fears, his doubts to prefer unforgettable adventures. Moreover many tourism group tours seek to maximize their time from one destination to another before returning to China with thousands of pictures to boast of their wonderful foreign experience as well as giving gifts or showing off their latest luxury purchase.

A Chinese tourist has become much more open to multiculturalism than before. So should we simply follow the trend or anticipate it?

We think that here can be 2 possible options:
      • Adaption of offers to Chinese consumers with offers corresponding to emerging trends is necessary 
      • A proactive approach to amplify even more the trend by offering hybrid solutions that allow Chinese tourists to stay in groups while experimenting with solo adventure. Such as less tightly scheduled group tours and more opportunities to travel “adventure” for the new trend. Less luxury but more qualitative to promote cultural and gastronomic

Online tourism then?

Whatever your offers and strategies are, you must of course include a good digital marketing campaign to reach this population which is strongly connected. It’s more than 1 bilion Chinese Internet users connected on average 21 hour per week which you will have access to with this kind of campaign. It is worth it, isn’t it?

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  1. I would not put too much trust into the results of the hotel.com survey, the bias stemmed from the research method is big. Nevertheless indeed Chinese outbound tourism is diversifying and segmenting, as well will show on the 27th Sept. 2014 in the COTRI / Dragon Trail / GBTIMES organised TWELVE HOUR continuous free webinar about Chinese outbound tourism around the world.
    See http://www.WelcomeChinaGlobalWebinar.com. Please join, it is free, and share your experience with the New Chinese Tourists in the Q+A sessions.

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