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The changing preferences of Chinese travelers: unique local experiences over shopping

Van den Oever, global lead for Travel & Hospitality at GfK, presented these latest travel insights at the recent World Travel Fair held in Shanghai on 7 May 2015. Findings are based on the joint reports and analysis of leading global market research firm GfK and provider of travel intelligence ForwardKeys.

SINGAPORE – Hong Kong had been a popular shopping destination for the avid mainland Chinese shopper but appears to be losing its shine these days. Latest travel insights from GfK and ForwardKeys reveal that the number of Chinese tourists intending to visit their neighboring region has dropped considerably by nearly half (48%) in the upcoming months of April to September, compared to the same timeframe last year.
On a more positive note, South Korea, Thailand, and Japan remain as the top three travel destinations amongst the Chinese, already recorded spikes in the number of advanced bookings made for traveling to these countries during the April to September period. Flight bookings to South Korea have jumped by 85 percent over the same period last year, while Thailand and Japan also registered increased bookings by 60 and 50 percent respectively.
Trips to Hong Kong from China are down, affected to some degree by the yellow umbrella protest that took place over an extended period of time in the fourth quarter of last year,” said Laurens Van Den Oever, global lead for Travel & Hospitality at GfK. “A GfK study on the destination image of the top five Asian countries amongst Chinese reported that the key draw of Hong Kong is shopping; and the decline in tourist numbers could mean that shopping is no longer a priority for mainlanders.
Van den Oever presented these latest travel insights at the recent World Travel Fair held in Shanghai on 7 May 2015. Findings are based on the joint reports and analysis of leading global market research firm GfK and provider of travel intelligence ForwardKeys.
Meanwhile, increased interest in Thailand and Japan—countries which are perceived by Chinese to be rich in history and culture indicate that they are now more drawn to experience destinations.
In addition, local government policies also have a huge contributing role to play in global tourism,” commented Olivier Jager, CEO of ForwardKeys. “For instance, the ease in visa requirements in Japan and Thailand for mainland Chinese has positively impacted tourism with the considerable increase of these visitors in the countries,” he noted.
Another recent study highlighted the fact that Chinese travelers are becoming increasingly connected, with nearly nine in ten (89%) of them utilizing more than one device to do research and eventually book their trip. While 45 percent in the survey said they used a tablet, three-quarters (74%) employed their smartphone, while 85 percent conducted the task using their home computer.
The rapid proliferation of the internet in the world’s most populous country is fast changing the landscape of tourism for China and the world,” said Van Den Oever. “Industry players have to be fully aware and understand consumers’ travel journey behavior in order to execute the most effective target marketing strategies in order to remain competitive in the business,” he concluded.”
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