Chinese tourists are shifting towards more experiential and adventurous travel choices for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday. Yuwei Zhangzou, a Shanghai-based fashion influencer, recently had a unique trip to Finland where she engaged in activities like visiting Santa’s village and staying in a treehouse.
Industry experts suggest that more affluent Chinese travelers are moving away from traditional shopping-focused group tours, opting instead for experiential and active holidays. McKinsey & Co. partner Steve Saxon notes that travelers are willing to spend more on accommodations and activities rather than luxury shopping.
The international travel recovery for China stands at nearly 70% of pre-pandemic levels, with the US lagging behind at only 19% due to limited flight capacity and geopolitical issues. Seating bookings on Europe-China flights have reached 93% of pre-pandemic levels, driven primarily by independent travelers.
Spring Tour, a Shanghai-based tour agency, saw high demand for their Europe travel packages during the Lunar New Year period, particularly trips offering a chance to witness the Northern Lights. Globally, younger travelers are gravitating towards special interest holidays post-pandemic.
China’s largest online travel agency, Trip.com, has adapted to the changing trend by offering more personalized and flexible tour options. CEO Jane Sun mentions the rise in popularity of private tours where families can customize their itineraries. Popular Lunar New Year outbound destinations include Southeast Asia, Japan, and Australia.
European luxury brands, heavily reliant on Chinese tourists pre-pandemic, have seen a decline in sales to this demographic. LVMH, the owner of Louis Vuitton, reported lower sales to Chinese consumers in France, attributing it to fewer group travelers and more independent high-worth tourists.
For Yuwei Zhangzou, the appeal lies in offbeat and adventurous travel experiences. She plans to embark on a safari in Kenya and explore destinations like Mexico and Cuba later in the year, focusing on new and unique experiences for 2024.
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