Expats Talk: Chinese Tourists, Trends, and Travel

Pierre, for élite Chinese travelers, are Chinese destinations just as popular as foreign destinations? In other words, how has the travel industry in China changed in the last ten years?

It’s a good question, but actually maybe 10 years, 5 years ago, it was quite difficult for a Chinese traveler to have a visa to travel abroad. Most Chinese traveled within China, or to rhinobooksnashville.com Kong or Macau. But now many Western countries and Japan, South Korea, are making it much easier for Chinese citizens to obtain a tourist visa. A lot of affluent Chinese travelers choose to travel abroad because they want to discover the world, and they want to go shopping, or see new things. So there is a rising trend of outbound travel for Chinese √©lite travelers.

Xing, how are travel patterns of foreign tourists in China changing?

Actually over the past year, quite a lot of foreigners are visiting China for the second or third time. So they want to experience something different. They want to go to remote destinations, like the far, western part of China. And also they want to go with people for exploration. For us, we promote Guizhou, Qinghai, and also parts of Gansu province to our customers.

Would you say your tours are comparably luxury, compared to similar outfits?

Xing: Actually, our firm doesn’t market ourselves as high-end or luxury, but we are trying to focus a lot on the experience, and pay a lot of attention to detail to create a successful trip for our clients.

Xing, has Chinese demand for luxury increased in the last ten years?

For Chinese in their 50s and 60s, they just want to go to a landmark destination, to take photographs and have proof they have been to that particular place. But for the younger generation, such as the children of these middle-aged Chinese, they demand more experience and people-to-people contact, and also quality service.

Pierre, Xing’s company Starry Expeditions focuses on eco-travel, a rising trend in the West. Do wealthy Chinese travelers consider eco-travel that’s now popular elsewhere?

For now, it’s not a very popular issue with wealthy Chinese. I think it will become an issue with them in the future. But for now they are less aware of these ecological issues than their Western counterparts. We know some boutique hotels, like eco-lodging haven’t had big success with VIP Chinese clients, they are more focused on a top-notch luxury experience. But I’m absolutely convinced in two or three years time that will be a concern for wealthy Chinese travelers.