Travel TrendsLatest McKinsey survey indicate that Chinese travellers are prioritising culture and history over shopping and dining.

Chinese travellers want to collect moments, not things

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More Chinese tourists prefer culture and history over shopping and dining.
More Chinese tourists prefer culture and history over shopping and dining.

Gone is the “BUY BUY BUY” mentality among many travellers in the modern world. While the Parisian streets of Champs-Élysées once used to teem with flocks of tourists frantically buying designer products by the bulk, today’s tourists are forking out the dough on experiences instead, including Chinese travellers who used to be some of the biggest shopaholics in the world.

According to a McKinsey survey, Chinese traveller interest in visiting cultural or historical sites have gained popularity, increasing from 39% to 44%. Cultural and historical trips are now rated as the second most preferred activity for leisure trips, surpassing beach and resort vacations, health and wellness escapes, and family-friendly holidays. Outdoor scenic destinations still remain the most popular choice, while shopping and dining has completely dropped off the radar.

The growing interest for cultural immersion is not going unseen by the travel trade. Many tour operators have taken to increasing cultural offerings, like Trafalgar’s Be My Guest experiences that bring travellers to the homes or home-grown businesses of locals in the region and allows guests to experience the very essence of the region’s local culture.

Hospitality players are also starting to roll out with initiatives that cater to this market demand, such as Raffles Hotels and Resorts’ new range of experiences that delves into the heritage of each destination that its hotels reside in.

Like every post-pandemic traveller in the current market, the pandemic that has kept people cooped up in their own country for three years is similarly affecting the Chinese traveller’s shifting mindset to move away from functional travel and to learn something new or have a transformative personal experience during their holidays.

Respondents in McKinsey’s survey additionally showed an immense preference for high-end hotels, far surpassing that of mid-tier and budget hotels. It is found that loyalty among hotel guests is established with good experiences, unique offerings, memorable services and convenience, instead of being driven by points or discounts. However, price and promotions still play an important role, especially among the older travellers.

Travel companies may find that they can further drive business by fronting unique experiences in conjunction with loyalty programmes or discounts. And in this fluid travel landscape where consumer demands are still taking shape, diversifying travel offerings and exploring personalised experiences that cater to each traveller’s unique desires can potentially forge long-term sustainable growth.

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