When it Comes to Travel, Chinese Urban Citizens Have Different Preferences: New Edition of the COTRI Market Report Analyses 19 Chinese Cities.
Chinese travellers are still flooding the world’s major tourism hotspots. While some destinations such as Western Europe are suffering losses based on safety concerns, this does not mean that fewer Mainland Chinese travellers are taking overseas trips. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that Chinese from different cities throughout the country have very distinct travel preferences and behaviour.
In the latest edition of the COTRI Market Report, COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute has examined China’s four first tier cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as well as no less than 15 second tier cities from all parts of the country. Each of these cities is analysed as an outbound tourism source market, with the report highlighting specific features including population statistics, residents’ disposable income, the number of travel fairs the city hosts annually, direct flight connections and the presence of foreign diplomatic missions and visa centres.
Most affluent first tier city dwellers have already successfully worked their way through the list of “must-see” destinations such as Sydney, Singapore, Paris and New York, and are now looking for more “exotic” locations like Iceland or the Seychelles. Nevertheless, there are still major differences between the sun-seeking northerners from Beijing, the shoppers from Shanghai and the fun-loving holiday-makers from Guangzhou and Shenzhen. For the 15 second tier cities featured in the COTRI Market Report, which was published last week, the differences are even greater. Some cities, such as Chengdu or Hangzhou, are well-equipped with visa centres and international airports that offer many direct air connections to overseas destinations. Would-be travellers in places such as Xiamen or Jinan, however, have a far more limited choice of air connections, may lack access to visa application centres and are less-likely to be able to visit an international tourism fair in their city every year.
Accordingly, the type of marketing and services aimed at potential customers from different cities must be tailored to their levels of travel savviness, while also taking into account factors such as the relaxed approach to leisure seen in Chengdu, or Qingdao residents’ passion for new business opportunities.
Second and third tier cities have now become the country’s fasting-growing source markets, adding around ten million or so Chinese to the “club” of international travellers in 2016. In the past, most of these people could have been expected to have travelled with package tour groups, but today, the younger travellers among this group especially are more likely to skip this phase and book their flight tickets, hotels and rental cars directly via OTAs such as Tuniu or Ctrip. This trend has been further accelerated by the growing number of multiple-entry visa policies available to Chinese nationals.
The COTRI Market Report is published twice a year and combines insights and data for the general development of the Chinese outbound market with specific topical chapters. In addition to the systematic review of 19 Chinese cities, the Autumn 2016 edition also discusses Chinese Study Tours as a special market segment, as well as the current status of Chinese outbound tourism to the USA on the occasion of the 2016 US-China Tourism Year.