Rich have no room for or­di­nary trips

When it comes to lux­ury travel, Chi­nese are miles ahead

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By SHI JING in Shang­hai shi­jing@chi­

Wealth­ier Chi­nese tourists are will­ing to spend more dur­ing their trips to make sure they have the best time pos­si­ble.

Be­spoke hol­i­days are in vogue, ac­cord­ing to China’s largest on­line travel agency In­ter­na­tional Ltd. The ser­vice model, which they started to pro­vide last year, has grown by a very sig­nif­i­cant 500 per­cent this year. The wealthy trav­el­ers, aged be­tween 30 and 50, who live in first- and sec­ond-tier cities, are in­creas­ingly fans of such tai­lor-made trips.

Ac­cord­ing to Shi Yud­uan, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of Ctrip’s tourism busi­ness depart­ment, the wealthy Chi­nese group tends to be bet­ter ed­u­cated and is not afraid to ven­ture out­side what might be con­sid­ered “nor­mal” va­ca­tions. Trav­el­ing for this group is a ma­jor way to spend their spare time. And when it comes to price, they care more about ex­pe­ri­ences and ser­vices than the ex­pense.

For the up­com­ing Spring Fes­ti­val (Jan 27-Feb 2), many in this wealthy de­mo­graphic have al­ready started to book such be­spoke trips. As Aus­tralia has started to pro­vide 10-year visa to Chi­nese tourists, this pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion is ex­pected to con­tinue to re­ceive fa­vor from China’s lux­ury trav­el­ers. A tai­lor-made tour pack­age to Aus­tralia dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val could cost more than 800,000 yuan ($115,190) for a fam­ily group of at least 10 peo­ple.

And it’s not just about sight­see­ing and tak­ing some well-earned time off. Ex­pe­ri­enced lux­ury trav­el­ers are mak­ing these trips for spe­cific pur­poses. Some have booked spe­cial pack­ages to ap­ply for div­ing li­censes in Sabah in Malaysia or the Great Bar­rier Reef in Aus­tralia. Some fam­i­lies may book trips to get a com­plete per­sonal med­i­cal checkup in nearby coun­tries such as Ja­pan. Prices can start at 20,000 yuan for each per­son. The younger lux­ury trav­el­ers who are at­tracted by Bri­tish TV series such as Down­town Abbey will book a 10-day lux­ury trip priced at 200,000 yuan for a group of three to ex­pe­ri­ence the pri­vate cas­tles and stately homes in Great Bri­tain.

Not only are the mid­dle-age rich trav­el­ers mak­ing big­ger bud­gets for their trips, the younger gen­er­a­tion born in the 1980s, who are ei­ther the heir of fam­ily busi­ness, or the bet­ter known “rich sec­ond gen­er­a­tion”, seem to be more gen­er­ous when it comes to travel plans, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Lux­ury Trav­eler 2016 re­port jointly re­leased by hote­lier Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional and the Shang­hai-based Hu­run Re­search In­sti­tute, which doc­u­ments the wealthy and sur­veyed 525 young lux­ury trav­el­ers aged be­tween 18 and 36. It found they spend 200,000 yuan on av­er­age an­nu­ally on travel and tourism. When it comes to their fam­ily bud­get for trips, the to­tal amount comes at 420,000 yuan ev­ery year, among which 220,000 yuan are spent on shop­ping.

The young lux­ury trav­el­ers are quite ex­pe­ri­enced, trav­el­ing to an av­er­age 13 coun­tries

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