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Chinese travellers have New Zealand well in their sights

The world's biggest-spending tourists – Chinese travellers— have New Zealand well in their sights

Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor shows NZ in top three destinations Chinese travellers most want to visit

Auckland, Tuesday 15 July 2014: Chinese travellers’ appetite for international travel is bigger than ever and the latest Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor shows the world's highest-spending tourists rank New Zealand high on their wishlist.

Surveying more than 3,000 Chinese international travellers and 3,000 hoteliers around the world, the third annual CITM reveals significant insights into all aspects of the changing behaviour of Chinese travellers and how the global hotel industry is adapting to maximise the benefits of this new market.

Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director APAC of the Hotels.com brand, said: “In 2013, 97 million Chinese tourists travelled abroad, up 14 million on 2012, according to figures from the Tourism Administration of China. This figure is predicted to pass the 100 million mark in 2014[1].

“For the first time since we launched the Hotels.com CITM report three years ago, more than half of global hoteliers surveyed say they have seen an increase in the number of Chinese guests in the previous 12 months,” Mr Chowdhry continued.

This year’s Hotels.com CITM report reveals New Zealand is sitting in the top three destinations Chinese travellers most want to visit in the next 12 months.

Katherine Cole, Regional Director, ANZ and Singapore of the Hotels.com brand, says:

“With New Zealand tipped as a must-do destination for Chinese travellers in the next 12 months, the country is in prime position to capitalise on the rise of the Chinese independent traveller and their appetite to discover all that New Zealand has to offer.

“China is now New Zealand’s second largest tourist market, so now more than ever, New Zealand hoteliers should ensure they’re catering to the needs of the evolving Chinese traveller.”

Top 10 destinations Chinese travellers would like to travel to in the next 12 months:


Rank Wishlist
1 Australia
2 France
3 New Zealand
4 USA
5 Switzerland
6 Canada
7 UK
8 Singapore
9 Hong Kong
10 Germany

Based on number of room nights booked on the Hotels.com Chinese website last year, New Zealand ranked in the top 21 destinations on Chinese travellers’ itineraries. The USA, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan take up the first four places as the countries most visited by Chinese travellers, unchanged from 2012. Europe emerged as a more popular choice this year, with France, the UK and Italy occupying the next three positions. South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia round out the top 10.

Mr Chowdhry, says: “There are many factors driving the desire of the Chinese people to explore the world. The rising affluence of the growing middle class with higher disposable incomes, the upward trend in the numbers of repeat travellers, more relaxed visa conditions and improved local infrastructure are all dovetailing to expedite this growth. Our report also quantifies another factor: the rate at which technology is transforming the landscape of Chinese overseas travel.”

Technology fuelling travel surge

Technology has become a compelling factor influencing Chinese travellers’ holiday plans and habits as more and more Chinese travellers go online, particularly via mobile devices, to research and book their travel and then share their photos and experiences via social media.

The use of technology is now clearly behind a growing trend first identified in the Hotels.com CITM report in 2012 – the rise of the independent and higher-spending Chinese traveller. This year, the 67 percent of Chinese international travellers say they prefer to make their own travel arrangements when travelling internationally compared with 62 per cent in 2013. This development is reflected by New Zealand hoteliers who say that 91 per cent of their Chinese guests now travel independently, rather than joining an organised group.

For the first time, more than half of the Chinese travellers surveyed say they now book their hotel accommodation either via the web or mobile apps, up from 45 per cent in 2013. Just under half use online accommodation websites and online reviews sites to research their trips and a third check social media. Eighty four per cent share their photos and experiences on social media during and after an international trip. The provision of free Wi-Fi is chosen as the most important service in a hotel by 59 per cent.

With internet penetration in the country climbing to 45.8 percent, China ended 2013 with 618 million internet users, 500 million of these choosing to access the web via a mobile device[2], according to the China Internet Network Information. More than 90 per cent of internet users reportedly have a social media account.

Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director APAC of the Hotels.com brand, said:

“The rate at which technology is impacting how Chinese travellers research, plan, book and share their holiday experiences further highlights the need for hoteliers to tailor and refine their marketing strategies, with a particular focus on online and social media channels, to attract Chinese travellers.

“Overall, the changing and evolving profile we are seeing among Chinese travellers, particularly with the rising young and independent traveller, will need to move to the forefront of hoteliers and tourism operators’ minds if they want to tap into what is fast becoming the world’s largest source market”, continued Mr Chowdhry.

What New Zealand hoteliers are saying

The New Zealand hoteliers’ survey reveals New Zealand is at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tapping into the ever-growing Chinese travel market with 60 per cent of New Zealand hoteliers saying that Chinese travellers account for just one to five per cent of their business.

New Zealand hoteliers are witnessing steady growth in the number of Chinese guests to their properties with more than a quarter (26%) hoteliers recording a 1-10 per cent in the past 12 months. While this represents growth, a gap still exists with a third (33%) of hoteliers confirming they have seen no increase in Chinese travellers to their property in the past year.

Globally and within New Zealand, hoteliers are confident this is a growing market. Globally, 38 per cent expect an increase of up to 10 per cent in the next three years, 18 per cent say 11-25 per cent, and a further six per cent believe it will be 26-50 per cent. In New Zealand, opinions are more bullish - these equivalent figures are 29 per cent, 34 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

Harnessing the power of “Kia Ora”

The Hotels.com CITM report reveals New Zealand also ranks number three on the list of countries deemed most welcoming to Chinese travellers, putting New Zealand in prime position to harness the momentum and growth in the Chinese travel market.

Commenting on this, Ms Cole says: “The New Zealand Tourism Board has implemented some fantastic initiatives to attract Chinese travellers. From extending the length of multiple-entry visitor visas for independent travellers to forming the Premier Kiwi Partnership (PKP) to help promote longer stay and higher quality itineraries for Chinese tours, these initiatives are clearly paying off.

“The next 12 months need to be about continuing to convert the Chinese travellers’ wishlist into a reality as we compete with holiday heavyweights Asia, the US and Europe when it comes to attracting the Chinese custom”, Ms Cole concluded.

-ENDS-

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