The average Chinese national goes on holiday just ones a year. And there is mounting expectation to make it count. That’s especially true for young urban Chinese, who work hard and want to put their limited annual leave to good use. This has been a boon for what we call “Soft Adventure Tourism”. It’s also good news for more exotic countries and cities that sit outside the 10 most visited destinations for Chinese tourists.
Take a quick look to see how Chinese tourists are looking to go further, longer, and are organizing more and more themselves:
- 41% of Chinese outbound tourists travelled to destinations outside Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in 2018.
- In 2017 the number of days per trip increased to 8-9 days, 1-2 days more than the previous year.
- There was a 12.7% increase in Free Independent Travellers (FIT) during the first 4 months of 2019.
What is “Soft Adventure Tourism”?
When most people think of adventure they will think of wild and exciting experience that is typically a bold, sometimes risky, undertaking. But for Chinese tourists, their sense of adventure is tempered by considerations about safety, comfort and language. Different thresholds and perceptions of these factors lead to a risk profile which is generally quite different to European and North American travellers.
For that reason, we use the term “Soft Adventure Tourism” to describe adventurous experiences that have requisite levels of comfort and safety to meet current Chinese tourist cultural preconceptions and expectations. Think of it a little like opting to have the rails up when you go ten-pin bowling. “Soft Adventure Tourism” includes horseback riding through the Mountains of Turkey, floating in the Dead Sea, or going for a camel ride in Morocco. “Soft Adventure Tourism” has led to an increase in entertainment and cultural packages and products, which are up 110% on Ctrip in 2018.
Taking Risk Factors Out
It is very important to remember that all this adventure and immersion in local culture and experiences should be served with and a hefty dose of safety. A Nielsen report from 2018 stated that 47% of Chinese tourists still said safety would affect their travel choice.
Certain boutique travel agencies have met this demand. They cater to the need of the young and curious Chinese travellers, offering customized packaged trips with tons of unique and photogenic experiences. Local tour guides also work alongside ground-staff-cum-security-guards, who provide additional safety in African and Middle Eastern locations. That all comes with a. price tag – prices range from 1,500 USD to 5,000 USD per person for 12-day trip.
So, now that you know what the Chinese tourists are looking for in the future, how can you make sure you are ready for them so you can win them over?
Your Take Aways
- Make your Destination more “exotic” – Make it so that your destination is the one worth their annual trip. Develop and promote places of interest, activities and services enriched by local culture and lifestyle.
- Offer Unique Customizable Experiences – In an environment where there is less fully organized travel, how are you inserting yourself into packages or day trips? You can either formulate them yourself or offer unique experiences that fit into the needs of private organized tour providers.
- Level up Localisation for Adventure & Cultural Tourism – Accessibility of culture and adventure tourism for Chinese Tourists comes with the need to localize content. It is far more daunting to bungy jump in a second language without proper instructions and translated signs. If not done quickly, Chinese operators will fill the gap.
- Build-in Greater Concierge and Safety Elements – Overall, safety is still crucial, and exotic shouldn’t mean dangerous. Offering services to help the Chinese travellers feel safe, especially in locations that do have high levels of petty crime or other threats, will set you apart from the competition. Offering private chauffeur services or creating interactive travel guides and maps through the use of mini programs, will give guests the feeling they are safe and in control.
Did you get even more excited about the Chinese Outbound Tourism market? Would you like help from our team of professionals in China and Europe? Don’t hesitate to contact us!