Young, rich ... and cool: China’s Gen Y travellers prefer Arctic adventures to Asian holidays

For mainlanders with a half-million yuan to spend on luxury vacations every year, regional destinations no longer hold much appeal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2016, 3:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 3:44pm

Travellers from China’s so-called Generation Y are more attracted to adventurous places such as the polar regions, Africa and Middle East than Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, a wealth research firm has found.

“The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2016” report released by Shanghai-based Hurun Report focuses on young luxury travellers aged between 18 and 36.

Such people spend an average of 420,000 yuan (HK$496,000) on travel per household each year, and 220,000 yuan on shopping tourism – mainly on clothing, bags, watches and jewellery.

These young luxury travellers went abroad three or four times a year, mainly for leisure, the report said.

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Although only 8 per cent of them travelled to Africa and another 8 per cent to the Middle East last year, 23 per cent of the interviewees said they were interested in visiting Africa in the next three years, while 18 per cent said they would go to the Middle East.

Ten per cent of those surveyed visited the Arctic or Antarctic in 2015 and 17 per cent said they would like to set foot there in the near future.

Just over a quarter of the respondents visited Oceania but 41 per cent said they would travel there in the next three years.

Those who were planning a trip Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan soon dropped from 32 per cent last year to 19 per cent.

And the respondents who listed Southeast and South Asian countries as their favourite destinations for visits in the near future dropped from 34 per cent last year to 24 per cent this time.

China’s young luxury travellers are seeking a wider choice of unique and novel travel experiences
Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report’s chairman and chief researcher

“China’s young luxury travellers are seeking a wider choice of unique and novel travel experiences,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report’s chairman and chief researcher.

“They are interested in adventure travel, polar exploration and road trips that take them further afield to a wider range of destinations around the globe,” Hoogewerf said.

Surge in Chinese tourists drives rise in Antarctica visitors

Shi Kaifeng, public affairs manager for online travel service, said the firm’s high-end tours targeting niche travellers had been selling well, with some more than doubling in popularity over the past few years.

“We launched three group tours to the Antarctic in 2013-2014. But for the 2015-2016 travel season, all of our six groups are fully booked,” Shi said.

He said in the past very few mainland tourists travelled to such destinations due to visa restrictions and the scarcity of direct flights. “Now it’s far easier for mainland tourists to get visas [for most countries] and more direct international flights have started,” Shi said.

Amrita Banta, managing direc­tor of Agility Research & Strategy, which also researches ­affluent consumers, said young mainlanders were part of the so-called AAA generation – aspiring, affluent and ambitious.

In terms of travel choices, they were mature and far more open to activities other from shopping, she said.