China’s women in charge forge new paths

SHANGHAI, 4 July 2024: Affluent Chinese female travellers seek more meaningful travel experiences instead of seeing travel as a break to relax or escape.

It is likely seen as an opportunity for enrichment, learning, and personal fulfilment. That is just one of the findings outlined in China’s Women in Charge, the latest industry report presented by global marketing agency FINN Partners in association with ILTM Asia Pacific.

Photo credit: FINN Partners.

According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, China reclaimed its position as the top spender on international travel in 2023, with an expenditure of over USD195 billion, 23% higher than the US in second place. Moreover, six out of 10 Chinese tourists last year were women. Given their increased spending power and economic status, high-net-value Chinese females will continue to profoundly impact luxury travel. 

“Debunking the stereotypical image of affluent Chinese females shopping at designer boutiques or dining out with their multi-generational family when travelling, our study reveals affluent Chinese women have a newfound sense of empowerment,” says FINN Partners Associate Vice President of Brand & Market Intelligence Joshua Wang. “Where travel was once a form of conspicuous consumption, it is now a sign of independence”.

Determined to make their mark on the industry, 54% of high-valued Chinese females intend to increase their leisure travel over the next three years, while over 60% intend to spend more on travel, including hotels and accommodation. In detailing how Chinese women use their economic and social influence on the travel industry, the comprehensive China’s Women in Charge report reveals five key takeaways.

1. Redefining Luxury

Luxury is no longer associated with acquiring material possessions. As the report reveals, the definition of luxury has shifted from external validation to self-fulfilment. 63% of respondents define it as enjoying total privacy or “me time,” while 50% interpret it as things or experiences that evoke joy.

2. Travel to Enrich, not Escape

For China’s female luxury tourists, the benefits of travel go beyond escaping daily routines or family obligations. Instead, they view travel as an opportunity to challenge themselves or learn new skills. An overwhelming 99% believe that travel brings profound joy, and over 99% see it as essential to expanding their horizons.

3. The Need for Niche

While most Chinese tourists travel familiar routes, almost 90% of female travellers are attracted to niche destinations for their natural beauty and landscapes. As an expression of individuality and nonconformity, 66% are drawn to unsung destinations that offer unique local experiences. In comparison, 58% are willing to veer off the beaten path to visit destinations of cultural or historical significance.

4. Seeking Solo

While multi-generation travel remains a mainstay of Chinese outbound tourism, there is a growing trend for solo travel, particularly among female travellers. Solo travel illustrates their independence and cultivates a sense of self-empowerment. Regardless of their marital status, over 80% of respondents said they were equally comfortable travelling alone as with a spouse or partner. Interestingly, 73% of married respondents said they will likely increase their solo travel in the coming years. For those with children, 46% plan to travel without or travel less with their children.

Responding to the growing number of solo tourists, 31% of female travellers prefer accommodation designed specifically for women. 

5. Rising Self-Influence

Women are overwhelmingly in control of travel plans. Empowered by financial autonomy and the rising demand for solo travel, 82% of women say their opinions matter more than before when arranging future travel. While they may be influenced by partners (60%), this demographic is less likely to be swayed by celebrities and social media influencers (10%) or advertisements (9%).

Older affluent female travellers favour travel advisors, trusting their insights and seeking guidance from experts when curating bespoke travel experiences, while younger affluent female travellers are more open to celebrities, influencers, and travel bloggers for inspiration.

“This in-depth study offers insights into the changing priorities, spending habits and motivations of China’s upwardly mobile female travellers,” said FINN Partners Managing Partner for China Jenny Lo.

“As this growing demographic continues to reshape the luxury travel industry, we hope this report will help destinations, hospitality groups, travel brands, and companies anticipate the evolving needs of this sought-after market segment.”

China’s Women in Charge report also provides an in-depth analysis of other areas of interest, including the factors that drive female travellers’ passion for travel, the importance of sustainability, and female travellers’ expectations of hotel brands and guest services. 

The full report is available for download from

The China’s Women in Charge report is based on a 20-minute survey of 800 high-value Chinese female travellers from 26 April to 15 May 2024. For those aged 25 and above, 74% of the respondents earned an annual income of over USD96,000, and 71% had at least USD700,000 in personal assets. To ensure a broad overview of opinions, respondents are from 12 cities with the highest GDPs in China in 2023, including the tier-one cities Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.


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