Maldives remains favourite amongst Chinese travellers, new survey finds

Maldives ranks amongst the most favoured holiday destinations for Chinese travellers over the next year, a new survey by Hotels.com has revealed.

According to Hotels.com’s Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) survey, the key factors for Chinese travellers to choose their next holiday destination has safety on top of the list, with historical or heritage reasons and bucket lists being the next two important factors. Taking those factors into account, Singapore is the most favoured destination for Chinese travellers in the next 12 months.

The other nine cities are the Maldives, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Australia’s Gold Coast, Hokkaido, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul.

More spending power, longer stays

The survey noted that Chinese tourists, in general, are expected to spend a daily average of USD 446, with average stay of  seven days per visit when they travel. Overall, they are spending more than a quarter (28 percent) of their income on international travel, with millennials being the biggest spenders, allocating 35 percent of their income to travel, it said.

According to the survey, the average amount spent per day, inclusive of accommodation, also increased by eight percent to USD 446 from USD 414 in 2016. For the first time in the survey’s history, shopping is no longer the prime reason for international travel, as leisure, culture and eco tourism are the new flavours.

Looking ahead, Chinese travellers said they intend to spend an average of 10 percent more on travel over the next 12 months.

The new generation

The survey, which was carried out amongst Chinese travellers aged 18 to 57 who have travelled overseas in the past 12 months, said there is a new generation of travellers rising in China – the ‘more generation’. Comprising Chinese travellers of all age groups, they are more educated and increasingly sophisticated in their tastes and expectations. They want more of everything; more time travelling, more locations, more exotic experiences, and they are spending more.

This generation is also providing huge economic benefits to global economies as they are traveling internationally more often and for longer than ever before. In the past year, the number of trips they took worldwide  increased from three to four, and the length of stay from five to seven days. They are also visiting multiple cities per trip, with over 80 percent saying they would not just stay in a single city.

Jessica Chuang, Hotels.com’s Regional Marketing Director for Greater China, SEA and India, believes that with the rising Chinese middle-class with vast disposable income, countries cannot ignore the impact that the Chinese tourist can have on a country’s economy.

“Southeast Asia has been identified as a key market to have significant increased outbound travel of Chinese tourists,” she was quoted as saying.

“Cities and hotels across the region must look at how to best develop solutions that tap into their enormous spending power.”

According to Hotels.com, hotels across Asia Pacific have started to recognise what is needed and have turned to social media and marketing programmes to attract the Chinese traveller, while increasing the number of Mandarin speaking staff, and offering Chinese payment facilities.

China has maintained its position as the single biggest source market despite falling numbers over the past year. In 2016, the Maldives welcomed 324,326 visitors from China, which was a 9.8 percent drop compared to the previous year. China has continued its downward spiral this year as well with a 9.1 percent drop in Chinese arrivals during the first five months of the year.

As arrivals from China drop steadily, the Maldives has recently announced plans to step up marketing in China in order to increase the number of Chinese tourists to one million per year.

Photo: CNN

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