Survey shows Chinese tourists less likely to shop till they drop
The latest hotels.com survey of Chinese travellers shows they spent more than a quarter of their income on overseas trips, but they're shopping less and lashing out more on dining and sightseeing.
New Zealand was rated seventh equal among the top 10 destinations Chinese tourists want to visit in the next 12 months, along with Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the UK.
The Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) is based on web-based interviews with 3000 Chinese travellers and almost 4000 accommodation providers globally, including 74 in New Zealand.
The report said that younger travellers born in the 1980s and 90s devoted more than a third of their income to tripping abroad, and this reflected the importance of travel as a means of self expression and relaxation.
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But the survey also revealed that the Chinese obsession with holiday shopping has waned and it is no longer the prime reason for travel.
Instead, there is much more focus on relaxing, exploring local culture, dining and sightseeing. Spending on the latter is up 11 per cent, while interest in shopping has dropped by 35 per cent.
Group travel has taken a dive and only 12 per cent of those born post 1960 planned a group tour in the coming year.
Long haul is on the up according to the report which said "New and distant are in, familiar and nearby are out."
Worsening air pollution in China had fuelled the desire for eco tours and visits to pristine natural environments and island destinations - such as New Zealand - and they made up a third of all outbound travel from China last year.
Millennials were also influencing their parents to strike out on their own to more adventurous destinations, with eco tours, theme tours, private luxury tours, and backpacking increasingly popular with the older age group.
The survey found the vast majority of Chinese travellers stayed in hotels where free Wi-Fi was important to keep in touch with friends and family via social media, and 30 per cent carried a selfie stick.
There was also a big demand for Chinese breakfasts and electronic payment systems, Mandarin speaking-staff, and more Mandarin travel guides.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa hotel sector manager Sally Attfield said that in the last few years New Zealand accommodation providers had made big efforts to cater for the growing Chinese market.
"These include Chinese food options in breakfast buffets, Chinese language channels on in-room TVs, and translating information into Chinese, both in the hotel and on their websites."
Many holiday parks also now included rice cookers in their kitchens, she said.
The aim was to give Chinese visitors a uniquely New Zealand experience, "but also make sure they feel welcome with some touches from home."
According to the CITM, Thailand was rated as the most welcoming destination for Chinese travellers followed by Japan, and Australia. New Zealand did not make it into the top seven.