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The outbound Chinese market is growing exponentially. Last year alone, 136 million Chinese nationals took a trip across their borders. As Chinese travelers gain more travel experience, they are also becoming more adventurous in their choice of destination and product.
To respond to many Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) members who are receiving an increasing number of queries from Chinese adventure travelers, the ATTA research team offers a short report with an introduction to help those in the industry understand this quickly expanding source market for adventure trips. It also explores what “China-ready” means for adventure operators and destinations.
Chinese Adventure Traveler Demographic Profile
Chinese adventure tourists tend to be younger and wealthier than average tourists from China. They are interested in visiting exotic destinations that deliver exceptional photographic memories for them to share on social media. Some sources suggest concerns about pollution are another factor driving the demand for nature-based holidays. However, beyond basic trekking experience, their technical skills are low and safety is a high priority. Chinese travelers are prone to selecting trending destinations, but also readily abandon destinations if safety or politics is a concern.
To become “China-ready,” adventure businesses looking to serve the Chinese outbound market may consider focusing their attention in three key areas:
- Product design
- Product delivery
The internet is the most important tool for Chinese adventure travelers. They surf blogs and social media for inspiration, use sophisticated online marketplaces for booking, and actively share their experiences while traveling and after their trips.
The Chinese online landscape is almost completely different from the Western one, and adventure operators looking to influence the decision-making process of Chinese adventure travelers should develop a good understanding of the various platforms and tools used by Chinese adventure travelers. This will require Mandarin language skills, since these sites are typically exclusively in Mandarin.
More than other types of travelers, Chinese adventure travelers are flexible when it comes to the timing of their vacations. However, it remains popular to travel during public holidays, especially the Golden Weeks (which fall in October and January/February). Adventure operators should consider marketing during these times. Research shows the average planning window is approximately three months for adventure travelers.
Adventure Product Design
Adventure travel offerings are increasing in popularity with Chinese tourists, though their technical skills when it comes to adventure activities is limited. Operators report a limited interest in cultural activities, although they expect that to grow in the future.
Chinese adventure travelers are keen to experience pristine natural environments — especially those that offer an escape from the pollution plaguing many mainland cities. Adventure itineraries that include experiences in awe-inspiring nature are sought after.
Chinese adventure travelers place a high importance on capturing key moments they can share on social media. In fact, all operators interviewed for this research mentioned that the ability to share selfies on social media was one of the main motivations for adventure travel. Operators may consider including a professional photographer on a trip and ensuring wifi is readily available to tap into this trend.
Adventure Product Delivery
On a trip, adventure operators are advised to plan carefully to accommodate language and food preferences:
- Language. While most Chinese travelers will speak some English, it may not be sufficient to understand instructions, especially in activities that include risk, like rafting or diving. If an itinerary contains such activities, having a Chinese-speaking guide is of paramount importance.
- Food. Chinese adventure travelers are interested in experiencing all aspects of a new destination including the cuisine. However, they are accustomed to three hot meals a day, and even the most intrepid traveler will appreciate a hot breakfast after a few days and the option to have food choices reminiscent of their daily cuisine from China.
If you are interested in learning more about this market, download the Introduction to Chinese Adventure Travelers report.
In this report you’ll find:
- New tourism laws.
- Chinese adventure traveler profile.
- Chinese adventure travelers’ motivations for travel.
- Destinations popular with Chinese adventure travelers.
- Path to purchase for Chinese adventurers.
- Suggestions on becoming business-ready for Chinese adventure travelers.