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NZ Top of Mind for Chinese Travellers Looking to Spend More

New Zealand top of mind for Chinese travellers looking to spend more

Latest research reveals Chinese travellers want more of everything – more time traveling, more locations and more exotic experiences

AUCKLAND, 18 July 2017: The sixth annual Chinese International Travel Monitor released by™ has revealed that Chinese travellers are spending a whopping 28 per cent of their income on average on international travel. They also intend to spend 10 per cent more on travel in the next 12 months, with New Zealand ranked number seven for most desired global destination, up 5 places from 2016.

Regardless of many key indicators showing signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, this year’s CITM found spending on travel increased across all age brackets, with Chinese travellers spending US$3,600 in the last 12 months – more than a quarter of their income and an increase of 4 per cent compared with the previous year. 90s millennials are the biggest spenders, allocating 35 per cent of their income to travel.

The rise of the Chinese ’more generation’ is a key finding in’s sixth annual CITM report, with Chinese travellers of all age groups revealed as travelling more often and longer, visiting multiple cities per trip, and increasingly influenced by free and easy travel trends.

The CITM report reveals that tour buses and group travel are on their way out for Chinese travellers, with independent travel (51%), eco-tours (14%), and backpacking (12%), even among older age groups, on the rise. Shopping no longer holds the attraction it once did for Chinese travellers, taking a whopping 35% drop from last year. Dining (55%), sightseeing (53%) and rest and relaxation activities (41%) took out the top spots for daily expenditure by Chinese travellers.

The report revealed a gap in what Chinese guests want versus what hotels are providing, highlighting that, by making some adaptions to accommodate Chinese tourists, there is huge potential for New Zealand hotels to further tap into this market.

While Kiwi hotels are focusing their efforts on social media and marketing programs in a bid to attract Chinese travellers, the investment in on-site services for Chinese guests has decreased according to the data, with less than 1 per cent spending more than $10,000.

The report identified key areas where hotels could improve their services, according to Chinese travellers:

• In-house Mandarin speaking staff was ranked number one by travellers but was low on the list for NZ hoteliers, with only 17 per cent currently offering the service and 8 per cent planning to in the next 12 months.

• Chinese payment facilities at hotels, such as Union Pay, rank second for consumers in importance, yet only 12 per cent of NZ hotels currently offer these facilities. Indeed, only 18 per cent intend to offer them in the next 12 months.

• Translated travel guides were ranked number four by travellers but are a low in priority for hoteliers; 24 per cent currently offering this and only 5 per cent planning to in future. Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand, David Spasovic says the New Zealand tourism industry needs to cater to the new generation of Chinese traveller.

“Chinese travellers make up New Zealand’s second largest inbound tourist market with nearly 400,000 visiting New Zealand in 2016[1]. And as the number of Chinese travellers grows so too do their expectations of new, more adventurous and diverse travel offerings.

“It is important that hoteliers continue to adapt to the evolving needs of this market and develop tailored hotel services that tap into the enormous spending power of Chinese travellers. is proud to partner with accommodation providers who work hard to ensure Chinese travellers get the most out of their Kiwi travel experience.”

In terms of hotel requirements, free Wi-Fi (78%), Chinese breakfasts (61%), and in-room kettles (31%) are still the top requests by Chinese travellers. Interestingly, other observed requests from Chinese travellers include slippers, instant noodles, Chinese TV programs and hotel level or room number preferences, and Feng Shui rooms.

The CITM research also identified that, while APAC is still the most popular destination (82 per cent have visited in the past 12 months),Chinese travellers showed a desire to travel even further than before, with countries such as France, the USA, Canada and Germany leaping in popularity.

Top ten destinations Chinese travelers are intending to visit in the next 12 months, according to CITM:


Destination/Percentage of Chinese travelers/Ranking in 2016

1 France 18% 9
1 USA 18% 12
3 Australia 16% 1
3 Canada 16% 17
5 Germany 12% 17
6 Maldives 11% 5
7 Japan 10% 2
7 New Zealand 10% 12
7 Singapore 10% 6
7 Thailand 10% 6
7 UK 10% 17

CITM 2017 further refines the five travel personas outlined for the first time in last year’s report. These five distinct personas with their varying background, travel attitudes, preferences and behaviours, allow hotels and destinations to tailor their marketing and diversify their offerings.

Mr. Spasovic encouraged hoteliers to avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to attracting Chinese travellers.

“The CITM report is a useful reminder to the industry of the importance of understanding and responding to the needs of Chinese travellers. This means appreciating their diversity and providing a variety of services that are tailored to their ever-developing preferences, ensuring their businesses remain evolved and sustainable in the future.”

2017 travel personas

Detailed Explorers (30%)

Tend to be born in the 70s who have witnessed massive change in China over the past few decades, or energetic post 90s millennials, who consider travel as an essential part of life and a chance to indulge. In the future, they tend to do more specialised tours such as eco tours, adventure tours, backpacking and luxury tours.

Spending on travel for this segment increased by 15 per cent in the past 12 months and they allocated 26 per cent of their income to travel. They expect to spend a lot more on travel in the future with travel destinations leaning towards long haul destinations in APAC, Europe and America.

Indulgers (9%)

Predominantly post 80s millennials, their preferred way of traveling is theme tours and eco tours. In the past 12 months, this segment spent 27 per cent of their income on travel and their daily travel spend increased by 16 per cent. The majority (60 per cent) expect to spend more on travel in the next 12 months.

Cautious connectors (30%)

Mostly born in the 60s and 70s, they are predominantly from Tier 3 and 4 cities and are very family conscious. In the past 12 months they spent 28 per cent of their income on travel and their average daily spend increased by 9 per cent. More than half (57 per cent) intend to spend more in the next 12 months.

Basic Pleasure Seekers (17%)

Tend to be millennials with a travel spend of 29 per cent of their income. More than half (60 per cent) intend to spend more on travel in the next 12 months.

Experience Seekers (14%)

Predominantly post 80s and 90s millennials from Tier 1 cities. They consider traveling to be a way of escaping reality and pushing their boundaries, preferring travel experiences such as backpacking, theme tours or eco tours.
In the past 12 months and they allocated 29 per cent of their income to travel. More than half (61 per cent) intend to spend more on travel in the next 12 months.


About the research

The Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) analyses research taken directly from both Chinese international travellers and hoteliers worldwide, combined with own proprietary data and other research.

For the travellers’ survey, used Ipsos, a world leader in market research, which in April and May 2017 conducted interviews with 3,000 Chinese residents, aged 18–57 years, who had travelled overseas in the past 12 months. A Computer-assisted Web Interviewing technology was used. The representative sample consisted of men and women from a number of cities in all tiers.

The travellers were asked about travel behaviour, booking methods, accommodation choices and many other aspects of their travel.

To complement this, carried out a global survey of more than 3,800 hotel partners, also during May 2017. The 38 participating countries were Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the USA and Vietnam.

About L.P. operates, a leading online accommodation booking website with properties ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts to local favourites and bed & breakfasts, together with all the information needed to book the perfect stay. Customers get instant savings with Secret Prices through our mobile booking app and Rewards members can earn and redeem free* nights at thousands of properties worldwide. The Mobile Concierge on iPhone is like having a local expert in the palm of your hand, offering fast access to services such as transportation, on-demand food delivery, restaurant reservations and activities.

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