Are independent trips the new trend among the Chinese?

In 2023 the habits of Chinese travellers are changing, now, the popular new trend is focused on personalized adventures.

Chinese tourists are looking for customized and interesting travel

The tourism market in China has been on pause for the last three years until the government removed the COVID quarantine restrictions

For many years, Chinese tourism overseas was characterized by hundreds of Chinese led by a tourist guides and accompanied by many big buses. However, this kind of tourism is almost finished in 2023. As mentioned by a new report from Hotels.com’s Chinese International Travel Monitor, around 70 per cent of Chinese travellers choose an independent trip when they decide to travel overseas.

Chinese tourists could be categorized into two trips. The first group include those young travellers with high incomes who want independent trips and the second type are tourist from second and third-tier cities that still travel with group tours but mostly inside China.

How to reach individual Chinese Travellers?
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This new trend of independent travel is boosted by young travellers. The fact is about 90 per cent of Chinese tourists are under 45 years old, as reported by China Tourism Academy. And due to this wave of young and intrepid travellers, the groups of Chinese travellers guided with flags decreased quickly.

An important cultural change is happening in China and Media is supporting that shift, as reported by Mei Zhang, the founder of Beshan, one of the most popular travel agencies in China which offer luxury, customized and private tours abroad. For instance, a blogger called Gu Yue is awaking interest for the life out on the open road due to their romantic travels from Beijing to Berlin in order to see his girlfriend.

At first, Chinese tourists decided to travel with group tours because they believed that this kind of organized tourism would provide them security in unknown countries, in particular in those countries where Mandarin is not the official language. However, this is no longer a distinctive trait of Chinese travellers. This new generation doesn’t care about the foreign language or security and most of them are prepared to face new challenges.

Many Chinese tourists desire to explore new interesting destinations because most of them already visited domestic travel options. The big issue for those intrepid tourists is that most travel agencies only are able to offer standard tours in common places instead of offering attractive and new destinations. Only a few operators offer customized trips to attend to these demanding travellers, as reported by Professor Wolfgang Georg Arlt, Director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.

The increase in online resources is another factor that has strengthened independent travel. The existence of travel websites such as Elong, Ctrip and Kuxun has made it easier to find and book flights and hotels. Also, sites such as Mafengwo and Qyer provide free travel guides and forums that could help Mandarin-speakers to organize their own adventure.

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In addition, sites such as Zanadu provide access to a type of luxury accommodation similar to those rooms which appear in films and billboards. The founder of Zanazu, Zan Wu said that their regular customers are not super rich but they are glad to spend $250 per night in a hotel. They like to show their economic power and enjoy their high position.

Due to the desire for high-end accommodation, hotels are conscious that Chinese tourists are the biggest spenders in the world and that’s why hotels are trying to attract them through the adaptation of their services. For instance, hotels are starting to offer Chinese breakfast and translate their websites into the Mandarin language.

Maybe, the main reason for the increasing number of Chinese tourists abroad is the facility to obtain travel visas due to the current flexibility of government restrictions.

Chinese tourists are viewed as a potential economic source and that’s the reason why Western countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States have announced a relaxation of the visa rules.


As we can see, Chinese tourist behaviour is changing, they are bored with group tours and not exciting destinations. The new trend is to organize the travel by themselves and choose adventure destinations. The economic power of those tourists means an opportunity for companies in order to increase their benefits.

If you want to attract Chinese tourists, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will design a marketing strategy for you in order to attract them to your business.


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