Connect with us


The world scrambles to attract Chinese travellers





Spending US$277 billion worldwide last year, Chinese travellers are the world’s top tourism spenders, by a long margin. Now the global travel industry is scrambling to capture its slice of the lucrative ‘bamboo dollar’, and falling out of Chinese travellers’ favour can have a dramatic impact on tourism figures.

For example, Phuket has suffered as a result of the fall-out following last year’s Phoenix boat disaster when 47 Chinese tourists drowned after the tour boat capsized and sank south west of the island. The incident was poorly handled by local officials and Chinese social media urged fellow tourists not to travel to the Thai island.

But now Chinese tourists have caught the international travel bug, the rest of the world is desperately hoping they never lose it due to their high spending – up to two or three times the amounts spent by their US and European counterparts – and enormous potential as a travel market.

Jane Sun, the CEO of Ctrip, says that with more than 300 million registered users, they are China’s largest online travel agency and the world’s second-largest in terms of the gross value. Group Limited is a Chinese provider of travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management.

So what are Chinese travellers looking for in a holiday?

Jane said that times have changed and the type-cast Chinese Tour Group following a tour guide waving a flag is long-gone.

“Younger Chinese travelers are shunning the flag-waving group tours that once dominated the market in favor of independent travel.”

“In the old days, people spoke very little English.”

“They tended to travel with the big groups, but now the new generation study English when they’re young. Even before they reach high school, they probably already studied a couple of years in the US, in Australia, or the UK.”

This growing segment of younger, English-proficient, FIT (free and independent) travellers is looking for something beyond your usual cookie-cutter itinerary.

“The young generation is even more adventurous – skydiving, scuba diving, skiing, abseiling. Anything exciting for them, they want to do it.”

Sun says she usually visits an up-and-coming destination a few years ahead of time to look for unique services and work with local tour operators before offering the products to Chinese travellers.

Sun says that most Chinese travelers value places that make them “feel at home.”

The world scrambles to attract Chinese travellers | News by Thaiger

Jane Jie Sun is a Chinese businesswoman, and the CEO of Ctrip, the largest online travel agency in China, since November 2016.

“Once the customers are on site, if you offer something special and friendly, that’s very helpful. For example, hot tea, slippers, some Chinese speaking staff. It costs you very little but makes the environment very friendly.”

But Sun acknowledges that some bad tourist behaviour from Chinese travellers is continually hitting world headlines.

“It will take time to change global perceptions of Chinese travellers”.

“For lots of people, it’s their first time going outside of China. So, a lot of times they are very excited. They talk quite loud, taking pictures in the middle of the road, but as they travel more and more, they become more and more sophisticated. For example, when they go to Japan, they see people are very orderly. When they come home, they bring these good traits back.”

Ctrip also has its own hugely popular social media platform where Chinese travellers share their experiences overseas.

“The company’s Trip Moments is an Instagram-type platform that allows travellers to search for fellow tourists’ travel tips and book similar experiences. Our customers will post their pictures, write their journals, and these pictures attract a lot of customers.”

The company acquired UK-owned flight booking website Skyscanner in 2016 and US company in 2017, among other ventures.

Chinese travellers are now recognised as the world’s most generous spenders for per-day spending in the countries they visit.

The world scrambles to attract Chinese travellers | News by Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Luxe Digital


Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Thaiger Talk Forums.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Find more SE Asian News courtesy of Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Visa3 hours ago

Covid-19 prevention leads to 14 arrests of longterm overstays

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 3,277 new infections and 29 deaths, provincial totals

Thailand3 hours ago

Red tape and restrictions suggest a slow Phuket reopening

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Phuket4 hours ago

UPDATE: Tourism Minister reportedly says July 1 ‘sandbox’ won’t happen

Tourism4 hours ago

Koh Samui eyes August 1 reopening, “Samui Sealed Route”

Weather6 hours ago

Village need rain? Have you considered a giant penis?

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 3,277 new infections and 29 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

8.3% of Thailand’s 50 million vaccine target reached so far

Coronavirus (Covid-19)21 hours ago

Site launched for June 14 vaccine signup for all foreigners

Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Free quarantine accommodation for arriving Thais to be cancelled

Thailand23 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sandbox – bar, clubs closed? Local AZ problems, Sex toy arrest | June 11

Drugs1 day ago

UN report: Changes in Southeast Asia drug trafficking during the pandemic

Cambodia1 day ago

United States to return 27 stolen antiquities to Cambodia

Thailand1 day ago

Autopsy reveals heart attack killed woman who received AstraZeneca vaccine

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand’s Golf Quarantine on hold until Covid situation improves

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8