Despite a sluggish world economy, the expanding group of wealthy Chinese, especially millennials, is showing a bigger appetite for luxury travel, adding a bit to the members’ spirit of adventure.
According to The Chinese Luxury Traveler 2017 Report – jointly released on Monday by Shanghai-based Hurun Re-search Institute, which observes the rich, and International Luxury Travel Market Asia – the average upscale traveller spent 380,000 yuan (S$77,144) on family travel last year, 220,000 yuan of which was devoted to shopping, up 57 per cent year-on-year.
This seventh report released by the two organisations covers wealthy travellers from 12 Chinese cities. The survey polled 334 affluent Chinese with an average personal wealth of 22 million yuan.
In terms of accommodation budgets, the younger generation, who were born in the 1980s, had a budget 3,325 yuan higher than others, up 7 per cent from 2015. However, private short-stay rentals, like those provided through Airbnb, had not won equal favour among wealthy Chinese tourists.
When asked if they would consider such service, 28 per cent of those surveyed said no and 10 per cent said it was highly unlikely. Another 31 per cent showed a neutral attitude. The lack of top-tier services at the private residences is the main reason for the luxury travellers’ indifference.
Adventure travel will be the theme in the next three years, according to the survey, with around-the-world travel, polar expeditions and outdoor adventures the most popular. The generation born in the 1980s shows greater interest in these areas. About 36 per cent of these young, wealthy tourists plan to visit Africa in 2017, up from the 23 per cent in 2016.
Meanwhile, 32 per cent of them expect to fly to polar areas this year, up from the 17 per cent a year earlier. According to HHTravel, a luxury travel brand under China’s largest online travel agency Ctrip, the number of consumers interested in polar trips with an average personal wealth of at least 10 million yuan has grown since 2014. Meanwhile, travel packages which include hunting in Africa promises room for growth among wealthy Chinese.
Andy Edwards, global director of brand and marketing communications of travel booking firm Agoda, also agreed that wealthy Chinese travellers seek adventurous, undiscovered destinations rather than going to common recreational resorts.
“As these high-end travellers become increasingly independent in terms of wealth, cost considerations weigh less heavily and they are able to travel more freely to the places they favour the most,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Research Institute. “These choices are highly significant, as they often set the trend for future waves of tourism, with these high-end pioneers setting the benchmark,” he said.