What’s motivating affluent Chinese travelers now

    A new report gives a comprehensive analysis of emerging market trends, travel motivations, and demographic shifts with Chinese travellers.
    Image: Marriott International
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Travel

    The following is an excerpt from Luxury Explored: Chinese Luxury Travelers’ Evolving Desires by Jing Daily and Marriott International Luxury Group in Greater China. Get your copy of the report on our Reports page.

    China’s first generation of entrepreneurs, comprising business owners from the early days of Chinese economic reforms, exhibits a blended approach to travel, combining business and leisure. This persona seeks efficient and effortless travel experiences and indulges in fine dining, catering, leisure entertainment, spas, and exclusive services. These travel choices reflect a desire for a balanced mix of efficiency and enjoyment.

    Their travel motivations extend beyond material indulgence to encompass a quest for global connections, personal growth, and asserting individual identity. Travel is a platform for self- discovery, cultural exploration, and cultivating a persona separate from familial expectations.

    Jackey Yu, a partner at McKinsey’s Hong Kong office who leads the consultancy’s Travel, Tourism, and Consumer practice in Greater China and Asia, believes the younger generation’s needs and desires are shifting towards community-based experiences and a solid connection to the world.

    For the younger generation, brand association is less significant than it was for previous generations. They are often drawn to quiet luxury and niche brands that resonate with their identity. They seek brands representing niche communities, or contributing to sustainability, carbon neutrality, and doing good for the world. Sustainable travel and brands with contribution attributes are increasingly important to this segment,” Yu says.

    While not a distinct luxury traveler segment, the digital nomad lifestyle is growing in popularity among Chinese millennials. Digital nomads’ lives are characterized by remote work and boundless exploration. For them, travel represents freedom, flexibility, and the pursuit of authentic experiences.

    Digital nomads seek destinations that offer a blend of connectivity, cultural immersion, and work-life balance. While digital technology, such as generative AI, is essential, it is seen as an enabler to enhance the human experience during travel, rather than the sole purpose of consumption.

    In summary, luxury travel in China is shaped by demographics and evolving travel motivations. The first generation of entrepreneurs seeks a blend of business and leisure, while its successors prioritize personal growth and global connections. Digital nomads embrace a remote work lifestyle, valuing freedom and authentic experiences. As Chinese consumers’ incomes rise and their travel preferences evolve, the luxury travel market in China is poised for continued growth and transformation.

    Download your copy of “Luxury Explored: Chinese Luxury Travelers’ Evolving Desires” on our Reports page.

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