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Relaxation, natural wonders top bucket lists of stressed Hong Kong travellers

Skyscanner survey finds that destinations such as the Grand Canyon in the US and Israel’s Dead Sea are easily beating out city landmarks like Las Vegas and Sydney on the list of places Hongkongers want to visit in their lifetimes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 6:48pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 July, 2018, 8:39pm

Hongkongers are widening their horizons when putting together their travel bucket lists, with visits to natural attractions and relaxation holidays now far outweighing city breaks, according to research by travel website Skyscanner.

“Hong Kong is one of the cities with the longest working hours around the world and the level of overcrowding in the city contributes to high stress levels,” says Xavier Hsieh, senior growth lead for Hong Kong and Taiwan at Skyscanner, which published the results of its Hong Kong Travel Bucket List survey this month. “Residents are increasingly seeking proper outlets to relieve this pressure and give them a moment to pause, and travelling to places with uncompromising natural beauty and utmost relaxation is a great way to achieve this.”

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“Natural wonders” (28 per cent), “ultimate relaxation” (23 per cent) and “wildlife encounters” (17 per cent) were the top three types of bucket-list destinations among the 400 travellers who took part in the survey.

“These destinations can offer drastically different experiences from Hong Kong, allowing local travellers to escape from the urban crush, and rejuvenate while broadening their perspectives during their vacations,” Hsieh says.

The findings are similar to those from last summer’s Skyscanner Hong Kong Traveller Report, which revealed that 24 per cent of Hong Kong people prefer “getting close to nature” and “being adventurous” when going on holiday.

[Hongkongers] value exotic and unique destinations, which enable them to completely retreat from what they experience in daily life
Xavier Hsieh

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Grand Canyon in the US, Israel’s Dead Sea and the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) in Bolivia were some examples of far-flung natural wonders worth visiting given by Skyscanner. As for natural wonders in Asia, it cited locations including the sandstone pinnacles in China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the limestone formations and islands of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and of Thailand’s Krabi Province, the unspoilt Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines, and Turkmenistan’s bizarre Darvaza Gas Crater.

“[Hongkongers] value exotic and unique destinations, which enable them to completely retreat from what they experience in daily life and try something different,” Hsieh says. “This is contributing to the popularity of having a travel bucket list, where travellers plan ahead visits to exotic and beautiful destinations and attractions that they wish to visit at least once in their lifetime.”

The survey also discovered that “ultimate relaxation” trips to locations such as the Blue Lagoon Spa in Reykjavik in Iceland, the Maldives, and Santorini in Greece are popular items on Hongkongers’ travel bucket lists. “Wildlife encounters” like the Great Migrations in Africa, and seeing penguins in Antarctica, were also a draw.

On the other hand, it seems that urban adventures are off the menu, with the “city landmarks” category the least popular among Hongkongers. Just 6 per cent have destinations such as Las Vegas and Sydney on their travel bucket lists.

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Data from the World Bank and World Tourism Organisation shows that residents of Hong Kong travel 11.4 times annually. And while many of them plan adventures in far-flung destinations, they still make the most of the surrounding region too.

“Destinations like Japan, Korea and Taiwan remain the all-time favourites for many Hongkongers,” says Hsieh, describing them as “prolific and mature” travellers.