For China’s well-heeled travellers, a satisfying holiday is no longer synonymous with hanging out at luxury resorts and going on a shopping spree in department stores. Instead, they now yearn for overseas excursions that blend customised service, authentic experience and exotic destinations, according to a new survey of 236 wealthy holidaymakers in China. Nearly 30 per cent rated Africa as the most popular overseas destination over the past year, making it their third most popular destination ever, following Europe (39 per cent) and the Americas (36 per cent), the Hurun Chinese Luxury Traveller report shows. The study reached out to individuals who spend more than 350,000 yuan (a whopping US$50,250) annually on travel. When it comes to accommodation, traditional hotels are no longer the go-to choice, with nearly a quarter now turning to Airbnb-style holiday homes. “The performance of the high-end short-stay holiday home market has been weak. However, as travelling as a family grows in popularity, the market is likely to see significant development in the future,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, the Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher. The performance of the high-end short-stay holiday home market has been weak. However, as travelling as a family grows in popularity, the market is likely to see significant development in the future Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Nearly half of the high-end travellers polled already have their own holiday homes, in Thailand (11 per cent) and Australia (10pc), followed by Switzerland and Japan (both 5pc). Domestically the southern resort of Sanya, dubbed the Hawaii of Asia, remains their first choice, accounting for 12 per cent, with sea views maybe unsurprisingly topping the requirement list of holiday homes. Polar exploration, the most popular travel theme last year, fell by 8.5 per cent and ranked second while parent-child travel enters the top three with 19 per cent. The interest in visiting islands and beaches, on the other hand, has reached it peak, with the selection rate dipping to 13 per cent this year. Almost two thirds of respondents are looking to spend Lunar New Year abroad next year, with their most-sought-after destinations Australia (20pc), Thailand (18pc) and New Zealand (17pc). For those who will stay in China, 10 per cent will celebrate the festival in their home towns. When it comes to airlines, Air China is the domestic carrier of choice of half those polled, and among international airlines, Emirates Airlines was crowned as the top player, followed by Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa.