Chinese embracing cultural tourism

SHANGHAI 16 May 2019 – Culture travel is fast catching up on other travel trends in China’s outbound travel market, according to the ITB China Travel Trends Report.

As ITB China opened for business on Wednesday, the Travel Trend Report claimed Chinese travel agents are now seeing the fastest growth rate in culture travel, with 62% of the respondents reporting an expected growth of 30% or more over the next three years.

Local experience programmes and scenery are what travellers care most about when going on a culture trip, according to the surveyed travel agents.

At the core of this theme is a wish to experience the local culture of a destination and to understand it better by learning more about its history and its customs.

This can be either through cultural institutions such as museums, through immersion in the local culture, or through attending cultural events.

Culture travel is also the theme for which travellers, according to survey respondents, have the highest willingness to pay.

The ITB China Travel Trends Report was created in collaboration with the international consulting and research company Kairos Future and presented at ITB China, which is being held in Shanghai until 17 May.

The stories of a place are important to inspire cultural travellers but equally important are films, history books, food, or some other experience that connects culturally to a destination.

Apart from museums and other traditional institutions, more immersive travel products are gaining popularity and the demand for different cultural experiences is becoming increasingly diverse in the China outbound travel market.

Many of today’s Chinese travellers visiting Europe, for example, are keen to experience local wine culture through visiting wineries and to sample and learn about the local cuisine.

Typically older travellers who are interested in culture face a language barrier when traveling overseas.

Chinese-speaking guides will continue to be in demand but there are calls for upgraded content that can be provided local experts and ‘opinion leaders’ at the destinations – preferably Chinese-speaking.

Just like for sports trips, events are important also for culture travel. Three types of seasonal events were mentioned by the interviewed experts.

 Art and music festivals are one option, such as the Mozart Week in Salzburg.  Another type is food-and-drinks-related, with Munich’s Oktoberfest as the prime example. Finally, local festivals connected to local or national holidays – such as the Running of the Bulls during the San Fermín festival in Pamplona, Spain.