Chinese outbound tourists in 2013 increased by close to 18% to 98 million, according to the National Tourism Administration, making China’s outbound market now the largest in the world. Within this big picture, the number of Chinese luxury travelers has also grown to record heights based on the growing number of Chinese millionaires. Today there are 2.9 million dollar millionaires in China, a year on year increase of 3.6%, according to a recent report by the Hurun Research Institute.
Travel is still the most popular leisure pursuit for Chinese HNWIs; they are busier than ever with business trips. They were on the road an average of 7.5 days per month, half a day more than last year. For the Top 10% richest, they were on the road 12 days per month, 3 days more than last year. This has resulted in slightly less time for leisure travel.
The report found that for those luxury travelers who have been to 40 countries or more, they spent 36 days abroad last year, half for leisure travel. Driving tours within China are becoming increasingly popular, with 43% replying they went on a driving holiday last year. 66% consider medical tourism. The Caribbean is the most popular destination for luxury cruises, although Antarctica and the North Pole are fast-growing.
Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher said: “Experiential travel rather than just shopping tours are becoming more popular now that the Chinese luxury consumer has traveled more widely.”
How destinations are chosen and how bookings made:
The report found that for luxury travelers who have been to 40 countries or more, their best trip for last year was inspired by word of mouth (45%), followed by family recommendations (20%) and luxury travel agencies (16%). For this trip, they traveled with friends (49%) and family (46%); sightseeing was the main purpose. They travelled for 12 days in a group of five people. 34% flew business class.
58% of the destinations are decided by themselves; hotels are booked via a friend (37%) or by themselves (34%). Hotel bookings were mainly through travel agents (50%) and third-party online booking sites (28%).
- 58% made the decision on their destination themselves,
- 45% with word of mouth recommendations most important, 20% based on family suggestions,
- 16% through travel agencies
Planning the Route
- travel agencies: 31%
- online research: 28%
- tourism: 29%
- cultural experience: 15%
- friends: 49%
- family: 46%
- Private customization: 43%
- own plan: 42%
Making the Booking (multiple answers):
- travel agencies: 50%
- through friends: 37%
- themselves 34%
The Special Role of Chinese New Year:
The report also found that for luxury travelers who have been to 40 countries or more, 54% traveled overseas during Chinese New Year 2014, a 7% increase over last year. Short-haul destinations such as Thailand, Bali and Cambodia, and long-haul travel destinations such as the United States, Australia and Dubai were popular choices. One in ten went on a driving holiday. 72% were accompanied by family members, averaging four, and they mainly traveled for 10 days. One in two flew business or first class.
More than half decided on their destination by themselves, and 37% were decided by their family. Half booked the itinerary and hotels themselves, with 20% booked by their family. On-line booking was the main booking method accounting for 42%, whilst booking via travel agencies, hotel web-sites and locals was most common for hotel booking.
Top Hotel Brands & Destinations:
Chinese HNWI travelers are loyal repeat customers to their preferred Hotel brands with Shangri La on top, followed by The Ritz-Carlton, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons. In terms of international Travel Destinations Australia leads, followed by France, Dubai, Switzerland and the Maldives. The USA rank 6th among Chinese HNWI travelers’ top destinations.
Travel Retail: Chinese widen gap on second-placed Russians
Mainland Chinese are the biggest shoppers for luxury for the fourth year running. They widened the gap with Russians. Indonesia jumped to third place. Fashion purchases jumped significantly. (Source: Global Blue statistics on Chinese Traveler’s Tax Free Shopping Spending 2013. Global Blue is a leading tax-refund organization; data does not include tax-free shopping at airports and data only represents spending by Global Blue members.)
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- 2014 The Chinese Luxury Traveler @ Hurun Report (2014)