Chinese travellers more demanding

BANGKOK, 2 August 2017: Chinese travellers prefer overseas travel and are interested in more diversified itineraries, according the sixth edition of the Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) 2017. engaged Ipsos, a world leader in market research, to conduct interviews during May 2017 with 3,000 Chinese residents, aged 18 to 54 years, who had travelled overseas in the past 12 months.

The travellers were asked about their spending patterns, travel preferences, booking methods, accommodation choices and future plans, along with many other aspects of their travel.

To complement this survey, conducted a global survey of more than 3,800 accommodation partners, also during May 2017.

It confirmed that every year the number of Chinese tourists travelling the globe has increased significantly. In 2016 there were 122 million outbound Chinese tourists, 4.3% more than in 2015.

Chinese travellers spent 28% of their income on international travel in 2016, with millennials the biggest spenders, allocating 35% of their income.

Despite many key indicators providing signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, the growth in outbound travel is expected to continue. Indeed, Chinese travellers expect to spend an average of 10% more on travel over the next 12 months.

For the first time in the survey’s history, shopping is no longer the prime reason for international travel. Leisure, culture and ecotourism are the new flavours. When choosing a hotel, Chinese travellers want high quality in-house services, free Wi-Fi and, for a growing number of millennials, an authentic local flavour.

Chinese travellers will be doing more specialised tours in the next 12 months. The number of travellers choosing theme tours will increase from 15% to 33%, eco-tours 13% to 28%, backpacking 10% to 26% and private luxury tours from 8% to 23%.

Dining and entertainment are the main winners for future spending. Half of all travellers intend to spend more on these two categories. Accommodation and transportation are also key areas for increases in spending.

Expected changes in spending by categoriesMoreover, the preferred method of payment across age groups is UnionPay (62%), followed by Visa Card (39%), cash (36%), Alipay (31%), Mastercard (16%) and WeChat Pay (9%).

As UnionPay and Alipay are not commonly accepted overseas, this is seen as the most important area for improvement according to Chinese travellers responding to the survey, the report noted.

It added Chinese travellers take overseas holidays more often and for longer periods, with the number of trips and number of days per trip increasing in the past year from 3.4 to 3.9 and from five to seven days, respectively.

They also want to visit multiple cities per trip, with over 80% saying they would not just stay in a single city. They would also prefer not to return to previous destinations in order to complete the itinerary (93%) giving the thumbs down to time wasting back tracks overland or by air.

When planning their trip Chinese travellers spend considerable time researching. On average they spend 12 days researching online and start planning one to two months before their trip. Younger travellers spend less time planning than older travellers.

Around 94% of travellers visited an online price comparison site when planning their trip and most also use an online travel agencies to book their trip, using either a mobile phone or computer.

Chinese travellers prefer to stay in hotels, with 79% choosing hotels over other accommodation types. Quality is important and the majority will only stay in a three-star hotel or above.

When choosing a hotel, hotel facilities, safety, reputation and price remain top of the list. Wi-Fi / internet, on-site restaurants and room services are the most important facilities that Chinese travellers are looking for.

Top five factors for choosing a hotel

Top five facilities Chinese travellers want

The report also suggested that there are three key areas where hotels could improve their services – Chinese-friendly payment facilities, language services and local transport arrangements.

Technology is also very important to Chinese travellers, particularly as almost all (98%) stay in touch with family and friends while travelling.

For destinations, while the Asia Pacific is still the most popular destination (82%), long haul trips to Europe and the United States have significantly increased in popularity.

When asked which countries they felt were the most welcoming, Chinese travellers rated Thailand as number one this year, followed by Japan and Australia respectively.

Most welcoming destinations for Chinese travellers

Key factors when choosing next holiday destination

The trend for long haul destinations will continue in the next year. When planning for the next 12 months Chinese travellers prefer long haul destinations, with Europe at the top of list followed by the US and Canada.

Country to visit for the first time in the next 12 monthsTop cities to visit in next 12 months

For full report visit

(Source and all infographics:™)



  1. Thailand is no longer preferred by the Chinese, great. You got what you wished for.

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