Just released by the global management consulting firm of Oliver Wyman, a new report based on a survey of 2,000 people representing a cross section of Chinese travelers—Prepare for turbulence: The Chinese Traveler of Today and Tomorrow—tells travel sellers that Chinese tourism is being transformed through more diverse tastes on the part of the Chinese traveler.
To cite the report: “Chinese travelers are becoming more independent, spending longer in distant locations–and are even spending less on shopping. … the traditional ways of serving them may no longer work.”
Alluding to the sharp drop in travel by Chinese to South Korea due to the latter’s the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system—year-on-year visitor numbers to South Korea dropped by 67 percent in April 2017—the report says that “Travel-related businesses should also consider the impact of high-profile negative events that might put Chinese tourists off a destination.” On an upbeat note, however, the report indicates that past declines in Chinese tourism due to trouble with a specific destination typically reverse after six-to-nine months.
The report highlights three areas of activity measured in both 2015 and 2016 that the travel seller should pay attention to:
—a shift in the way Chinese travelers are planning their travel as, increasingly, more people are planning and booking travel on their own;
—a change in the composition of the travel party, with more families traveling together; and
—a decline in the importance of shopping as, overall, shopping fell to the third reason to travel in 2016, down from second in 2015, and shopping as a percentage of overall travel spend is likely to continue to drop.
The following tables illustrate the changes in these areas of activity.