Independent travel is quickly becoming the norm for Chinese people.
A recent report by travel site Qyer.com shows that China’s young travelers are increasingly choosing to organize their own trips, rather than take part in package tours. Independent travelers made 77 million of the 109 million out-bound trips from China in 2014, an approximately 20-percent increase from the 64 million independent travelers of 2013. Over 70 percent of last year’s outbound tourists traveled independently.
The tourists of 2014 spent an average of 8,173 yuan (HK$10,300) on their travels, a figure slightly lower than 2013’s 8,298 yuan. They spent the most on shopping and transport, according to the China Tourism Academy.
Though Asia was the favorite destination for over half (55 percent) of China’s independent travelers, the popularity of Europe and North America shows that China’s tourists are broadening their scope. North America was the favorite destination of 10 percent of independent travelers, while Europe was the favorite of 29 percent.
Relaxed international visa policies toward tourists from mainland China helped draw tourists to new locales over the past year. A rise in higher education among younger people on the mainland has also broken down language barriers.
“In the past, our tourists might have needed help from tour guides to translate, but now more and more of them are able to speak English,” Jiang Yiyi, director of the China Tourism Academy’s overseas tourism department, noted in an interview with the South China Morning Post. ““On the other hand, foreign tourism markets have also introduced Chinese-language services to attract mainland tourists, so tourists can now be more independent.”
However, locations closer to home, such as Hong Kong, also remain popular; 11.6 percent of independent tourists visited the city in 2014. Because of Hong Kong’s amusement parks, over 18 percent of independent tourists also traveled there with their children.
image credit: patrick gaudin