While far-flung destinations like France, the United States, and Switzerland are high on Chinese travelers’ wish lists, easy-to-reach countries within Asia are grabbing the majority of their vacation time.
A new survey commissioned by travel magazine Travel and Leisure and conducted by German research firm Gfk found that 93 percent of “high-earning” and “well-educated” Chinese travelers have taken a trip within Asia over the past year. Southeast Asia was the most popular area within the region, and saw visits this year by 47 percent of those surveyed. Europe was the next most-visited region outside Asia with trips by 20 percent of respondents, and was followed by America with 15 percent.
Many of these jet-setters are taking multiple trips per year: 80 percent of respondents said they took between two and four leisure trips around and outside China.
“With the high spending power of these large numbers of affluent travelers, China has become one of the world’s biggest driving force[s] for the global tourism market,” says GfK Global Travel Director Laurens van den Oever. “These luxury travelers are willing to pay more for a higher quality of service and customized level of unique traveling experience—definitely a small but very important segment for travel sector to pay special attention to.” The survey found that travelers spent an average of US$5,800 on their flight and accommodations and $5,600 on additional purchases per trip.
The survey results also point to the growing importance of online travel booking, finding that 86 percent of respondents have used the internet to search for vacation-planning information and 73 percent have booked air tickets online. In addition, 70 percent used the internet to book hotels. Mobile booking was also a popular method, with 20 percent using it for flights and 25 percent using it for hotels.
“Rapid technological advancements are offering consumers an expanding number of information sources, not to mention more choices of touch points to complete their booking to suit their convenience,” says van den Oever. “These can be presented as challenges or opportunities—depending on how in tune with the rapidly changing market condition are the service providers in this sector.”