70% of outbound Chinese tourists were independent travelers

When you think about Chinese tourists, you are thinking about those bunch of cars with Chinese tourist inside, right? Well, the trend tend to be changed with this new wave of independent Chinese travelers !

New wave of independent Chinese travelers 

Chinese tourists

The pollutant air in China push some Chinese travelers to travel overseas and to discover others countries.

The Rise of Independent Chinese Travelers: A New Era in Tourism

Gone are the days when Chinese tourists were mostly seen in large guided tour groups, moving en masse from one landmark to another. Today, a significant shift has occurred with 70% of outbound Chinese tourists choosing to travel independently. This growing preference for self-guided, personalized travel experiences is reshaping the tourism industry, creating new opportunities and challenges for destinations worldwide.

Here are five key trends associated with the rise of independent Chinese travelers:

  1. Customized Itineraries: Independent Chinese travelers are increasingly seeking customized travel itineraries that cater to their specific interests, whether it’s culinary adventures, historical explorations, or eco-tourism. This demand is driving travel companies and local tour operators to offer more personalized and flexible touring options that can be tailored to individual preferences.
  2. Digital Dependence: With a high level of tech-savviness, independent Chinese travelers rely heavily on digital resources for planning and navigating their trips. Popular Chinese apps like Ctrip, Mafengwo, and Baidu Maps are essential tools, providing everything from booking services to travel tips and localized guidance in Mandarin, making it easier for these travelers to explore foreign destinations on their own.
  3. Social Media Influence: Social media platforms like WeChat and Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) play a crucial role in travel planning for independent Chinese tourists. They look to these platforms for inspiration, reviews, and recommendations, sharing their own experiences and relying on the shared experiences of others to make informed travel decisions.
  4. Luxury and Experiential Travel: The shift towards independent travel also reflects a broader trend towards luxury and experiential travel among Chinese tourists. This group is more likely to spend on unique, high-quality travel experiences, from staying in boutique hotels and luxury resorts to attending exclusive events and engaging in immersive local activities.
  5. Longer Stays and Varied Destinations: Independent travelers are often more flexible with their time and choices, leading to longer stays and visits to less conventional destinations. Rather than rushing through the standard tourist circuits, they are exploring off-the-beaten-path locations, seeking authentic cultural engagements, and taking the time to deeply understand the places they visit.

This transformation in travel preferences among Chinese tourists is not only altering their own travel experiences but also compelling destinations and businesses around the world to adapt to these new dynamics, fostering a more integrated and responsive global tourism environment.

Before going through a deep analysis, let me give you a rough idea with some figures:

Here is the top list destination of those solo travelers:

  • Australia
  • United States with facilities regulations
  • United Kingdom
  • Singapore
  • New Zealand

If you want to target those independent travelers, you have to understand who they are and the customer’s purchasing process from the beginning to the end.

After presenting you who are these solo travelers, I will detail with you the 3 steps process by including at each steps some keys tools that Chinese customers use in their travelling process that you better optimized for your digital strategy.

Who are those independent travelers?

According to TripAdvisor source, there are mainly 3 type of activities preferred from Chinese travelers:

  • Individual tours
  • Cruise Liners
  • Tours with outdoor activities

In comparison with others countries, Chinese travelers are more opened to different ways of travelling (83%).

There is an important thing that you have to remember, when Chinese people go for travel, they want to fully enjoy their holidays, so they are willing to spend the enough amount to enjoy their trip.

Here below, we will go in detail with you about the Chinese travelling process and remind you the key tool Chinese people use.

Discovery decision making process

When Chinese customer want to go travel somewhere, they will plan everything before travelling, even if it’s an independent trip.

How do they process? There are basically three sources of informations for them:

  • The first one is social networks : Douyin, Wechat and RED…etc. About 80% of Chinese travelers find the information they need on those social media.

– Chinese travelers will rely on the information from their contacts and circle of friends: mainly on pictures and comments posted on Wechat. Basically it is the in word of mouth tool: Recently you have seen your friend’s pictures in Thailand, in this amazing hotel with beach view and doing scuba diving…well…you will plan to go Thailand soon, so you will ask your friends for some tips and plans. 

Here below an example of moments pictures in Thailand

Wechat Thailande

– Searching for the information on effective content on official travel agency account. Sometimes travelers will go directly to these official account on Wechat because travel agencies have succeed to build regular stream of content and catch user attentions. Here below an example of Ctrip content on Wechat.

Ctrip Wechat

– Another powerful tool is KOL (key opinion Leader) that can have a sensitive influence on Chinese travelers’ decision process. If you want to know more about New Zealand in China, you can click here. Here the example of the famous Huang Lei with his wife showing pictures of its holidays in New Zealand.


  • The second one is the Official website for Chinese travelers. If you have succeed to bring Chinese customer visit your online website and that he ask you a quotation then you have succeed to attract him. How? Quality website with quality pictures, you have to sell them the destination, optimization of your SEO with creation of strategical content. If you want to have more information about it you can click here.
  • The third one can be Social travel platform such as Tripshow, considering as an inspirational tool for Chinese travelers. On this website, they can actually find ideas and tips about trips.


Once Chinese customers have found the information that they need, they will choose one travel agency to plan their trip and will process to pay.

Buying process online

 A lot of travel agencies try to make the payment process easier for customers. In China you have so many payment facilities including Alipay (ZhifuBao), Wechat payment…etc. Why? Because Chinese customers hate passing by difficult process and rules, if you are online travel agency, you may set up this kind of payment facility. But don’t worry because those payment facilities are widely support by social network such as Wechat trying to diversify payment process with QR code directly at hotels or other places…

If payment process is too complicated, then it can be a reason why a customer won’t choose you.

Both Alipay and Wechat are linked to your bank account and added to this, the revolution of QR Code that facilitate the online process payment for Chinese users.

Remember one thing, more you will accept diversify ways of payment and the more you will bring users and potential customers.


 Feedbacks and comments

At the difference from others countries, Chinese people love posting feedbacks on their social networks or on referent Chinese websites.

  • Social Medias again, we have mentioned it for the searching and discovery step but it is also often used by consumers to let comments and feedbacks about a place, after they have finished their trips, they will share their opinion about their trip with their friends circle. Social media is a viral tool, if you have negative or positive feedbacks, it will be quickly spread among user and it may have some positive or negative impact on your company. So be aware of it. Here below an example
  • Dianping: the Chinese TripAdvisor is one of the most referent website for Chinese planning to visit a travel place.


They will first check the feedbacks and comments on this website and right after that, they may decide which hotel or place they will choose to go…etc.

We will finish on this point but it’s not actually the end, because as I said at the beginning, feedbacks and comments is part of making decision process of Chinese consumers.  If you get positive comments, you will have more potential customers.

It’s a virtual circle process where you have to optimize your digital marketing strategy at each step.



Chinese Modular Travelers: Independent But Organized

Are the independent trips the new trend of Chinese tourists?

The rise of the independent tourist


Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *