China Outbound - April 2011
At present, the majority of Chinese outbound travellers come from affluent factions of society, although this has changed significantly with the introduction of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS), implemented for those heading to Hong Kong or Macao. Overseas travel has since become less of a luxury, limited to the privileged few. Singapore is still high on the list of destinations for Chinese travellers but now Japan and South Korea have joined the popularity stakes. Sightseeing and shopping are still the primary activities carried out by Chinese tourists while abroad. More Chinese from second-tier (smaller) cities are now travelling overseas, although those originating from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai form the bulk of the country’s outbound sector.
Although short-haul trips are still the most popular among Chinese outbound tourists, significant interest in travel to North America and Europe is on the rise and high on the Chinese list of desirable destinations to visit. As a result, demand for group tour itineraries to these regions is increasing. Seasoned travellers are keen to return to destinations they visited on previous trips, choosing to stop at one or two, instead of a handful, to delve more deeply into the cultural and historical sights. Repeat Chinese travellers are veering towards designing their own group tour with family members, dictating countries on itineraries to travel agents. An increasing number of Chinese tourists are also deliberately choosing to travel during off-peak seasons, outside of the official ‘Golden Week’ holiday periods, as employment laws dictating more annual leave have taken effect.
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