Tourists open­ing wal­lets for travel up­grades abroad

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese tourists are spend­ing more money on up­graded travel ex­pe­ri­ences when they go abroad, and more peo­ple are will­ing to take in-depth, in­di­vid­u­al­ized and cus­tom­ized trips, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased this week by the China Tourism Academy and Ctrip.com travel agency.

“The mid­dle class, who are the back­bone of the out­bound tourism mar­ket in China, are more will­ing to slow down their travel pace and en­joy in-depth travel ex­pe­ri­ences, no mat­ter if it is in ac­com­mo­da­tions, eat­ing, shop­ping or cul­tural con­sump­tion,” said Dai Bin, direc­tor of the China Tourism Academy.

“More peo­ple pre­fer in­de­pen­dent trips, in­stead of trav­el­ing with groups, and those who spend a lot of money shop­ping ac­count for a smaller por­tion of Chi­nese tourists.”

In the first half of the year, 42 per­cent of Chi­nese tourists chose to travel with groups and 58 per­cent took in­di­vid­u­al­ized trips, Ctrip said. The shift has co­in­cided with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of travel web­sites and mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions to find travel in­for­ma­tion and book trips.

Take Lily Min, 26, a Hong Kong-based lawyer who trav­eled to Ja­pan last month with a friend.

“I pre­fer to travel on in­di­vid­u­al­ized trips than go with groups be­cause I will have a more flex­i­ble sched­ule and change it as needed,” she said. “Be­sides, I like to plan the whole trip on my own, in­clud­ing book­ing ho­tels, choos­ing places to dine and ex­plor­ing des­ti­na­tions.”

Dai said the out­bound tourism mar­ket in China has

in Bangkok, Thai­land. More Chi­nese trav­el­ers pre­fer in­di­vid­u­al­ized travel.

en­tered a steady growth pe­riod with a low-to-medium growth rate.

Dur­ing the first six months of the year, 62.03 mil­lion Chi­nese trav­eled abroad, a yearon-year in­crease of 5 per­cent, the re­port said.

Cur­rently, 120 mil­lion Chi­nese have pri­vate pass­ports, mean­ing 90 per­cent of pass­port hold­ers have not trav­eled abroad yet, in­di­cat­ing a sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial for out­bound tourism.

As of July 11, 65 coun­tries and re­gions had in­tro­duced fa­vor­able visa-free or visa-onar­rival po­lices to at­tract Chi­nese tourists, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs.

Thai­land was the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for Chi­nese tourists in the first six months of 2017, fol­lowed by Ja­pan and Sin­ga­pore. The num­ber of Chi­nese tourists who vis­ited South Korea dropped 41 per­cent year-on-year.

The to­tal of Chi­nese tourists who trav­eled to Europe surged 65 per­cent, and 5.5 mil­lion Chi­nese are fore­cast to travel to Europe this year, the re­port said.

Chi­nese peo­ple from smaller cities are trav­el­ing abroad more fre­quently, thanks to re­laxed visa poli­cies and more di­rect flights to for­eign des­ti­na­tions, the re­port said.

MENG ZHONGDE / FOR CHINA DAILY

A tourist en­joys the sights

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