Rising incomes drive more frequent Chinese travel

90% of Chinese travellers expect to travel more often, according to Sabre
90% of Chinese travellers expect to travel more often, according to Sabre

Chinese travellers now have the means and desire to travel, and the vast majority expect to do so more often in future.

These are the key findings of a new report from Sabre, which discovered that an overwhelming 90% of Chinese travellers are now hoping to travel more frequently than they did five years ago. As well as higher disposable incomes, access to technology and travel information is also driving the growth of the Chinese travel industry.

In previous studies conducted three to five years ago, 60% of respondents complained of a lack of travel information available to them. Now, nearly half of the respondents (46%) believe they have too many travel options and information sources.

But this increased access to information is empowering Chinese travellers, according to the report, with a move away from group travel and towards independent exploration.

“China is entering a new era of mass tourism where travel is increasingly becoming a norm and an expected experience,” Sabre stated in the report. “As such, more travellers are starting to pay attention to the quality of travels and are now more inclined towards personalised travel experiences.”

“Today, travellers seek the flexibility to plan independently so much so that a majority of respondents (74%) expressed that they are willing to spend time and energy on their travel plans. This reflects the growing sense of self-empowerment and investment in personalising travel experiences,” it added.

Looking at the factors that motivate today’s new generation of Chinese traveller, the report found two “overarching attitudes” toward travel. Almost half (49%) of the study’s respondents said they see travel as a means of personal improvement, while a similar proportion (51%) said travel has become a new form of social currency.

The key motivations for Chinese travellers however, are remarkably similar to other global tourists: to relax (25%), spend time with friends or family (22%), and seek a better understanding of foreign cultures (17%).

“As China continues to cement its position as the world’s largest outbound travel market, it’s especially important that travel service providers and businesses have a deeper understanding of the Chinese traveller’s evolving preferences to effectively cater to their needs,” said Alan Chen, Sabre Travel Network’s regional director for North Asia. “It is by observing current attitudes and aspirations that we are able to anticipate and understand the dynamics of the Chinese market within the broader context of a transforming travel landscape.”

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