Wealthy mainlanders don't travel afar
Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are among the most popular destinations for wealthy mainland tourists, who remain less interested in Europe and North America, a survey shows.
China is expected to overtake Japan as the second-largest tourism market in 2013 - and to surpass the United States as the biggest travel market by 2025.
CAP Strategic Research polled 300 affluent travellers at Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou airports in February to find out more about the travel habits of affluent mainlanders.
The firm defines affluent consumers as those who earn at least US$67,000 per month.
More than 30 per cent of respondents said they wanted to go on holiday in Japan. Twenty-one per cent aimed to make Hong Kong their next destination, with 16 per cent hoping to travel to Singapore and Australia.
But fewer mainlanders were dreaming of Europe. Eight per cent of respondents wanted to go to Italy for their next holiday, while just 5 per cent had their sights set on Britain and 4 per cent on Germany.
'Chinese travellers are not sure that the US and Europe can meet their needs,' said Roger Thomas, managing director of CAP.
Respondents were also asked to rate airlines. Singapore Airlines was the most well regarded, with a score of 75.9 out of 100, followed by Dragonair with 71.1 and Cathay Pacific Airways on 68.7.
Singapore Airlines began flying to the Chinese mainland in 1985 and now has 75 weekly flights from Singapore to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
China Southern Airlines, which uses Airbus 380s on domestic routes, was ranked fourth, followed by All Nippon Airways and Air China.
About 45 per cent of the respondents, bought their plane tickets online, while 35 per cent used traditional travel agents.
The biggest online travel agent, Ctrip, has half the online ticket market.
'Having a good product is crucial for airlines to stay competitive as online portals make the comparison between airlines more transparent,' said CAP Strategic Research director Keith Kong.
Growth in international flights to and from the Chinese mainland remains robust, despite a slowdown in growth on routes within the mainland.
In April, international traffic was up 21 per cent year on year, while passenger traffic growth on routes to the rest of the country - Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau - was up 15 per cent year on year.
Growth in domestic traffic has weakened for three straight months, and rose only 6 per cent year on year in April.
The estimated number of high-net-worth individuals on the mainland, according to the 2012 Hurun Report