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Young consumers are the new globetrotters

Reporter: Grace Shao 丨 CCTV.com

11-09-2016 05:01 BJT

The World Travel Market London stop is staged annually in the heart of the UK capital. This Business-to-Business event presents a diverse range of destinations for the international travel industry professionals. And one market the industry is targeting is China's growing middle class.

Almost 20,000 people attended this year's World Travel Market in London.

A perfect opportunity for China to promote itself, as well as a chance to show the world the influence Chinese consumers have globally.

Among the globe-trotting consumers, approximately 70% of them are born in the 1970s and 1980s.

So far this year, Chinese travelers have spent 292 billion US dollars abroad, the biggest outbound tourist purchasing power in the world.

"There have been two obvious positive changes to how Chinese people travel and purchase things abroad now. One is that they not only observe the different cultures, they now see ways to really experience the locale and integrate into the local surroundings," said Yan Han, Deputy Secretary General, World Tourism Cities Fedration.

"Another thing is, Chinese consumers used commit to impulse buys but now they have become a lot more rational to where they spend their money and what they spend it on. In general, it has been a positive change."

Chinese outbound travelers have already reached 120 million this year.  A growing middle class is choosing to check out on average of 4 or 5 countries each trip. The report shows the top draws are natural scenery, beach resorts, and historical sites. The China Tourism Academy says there's a report on 170 cities around the world based on 5 criteria most valued by Chinese travelers.

"The China Tourism Academy has formed this consortium and put forward this evaluation criteria system. This isn't just recognized in China, but actually widely accepted internationally," said Jiang Yiyi, Director, Inst. of Int'l Tourism Dev't, China Tourism Academy.

Decisions are often made based on word of mouth, friends' recommendations, and exposure to places shown in popular TV shows or movies. Chinese tourists are keen to learn about other cultures and taste the food.

"We have been trying to work together with organizers in the Middle East. Through conducting more in-depth research and utilizing marketing strategies, we hope to push out better campaigns to attract more Chinese visitors, especially within the service sector," Yan Han said.

The most popular destinations are still mostly concentrated in Asia, North and South America, and Europe. Slowly, the more risk-averse and well-traveled ones are looking at Africa, the Middle East and even the Arctic.  

But a big frustration is the difficulty in getting a visa.   For many, this is what determines the final destination.

Chinese travelers are showing a powerful consumption capacity and appetite, and it will only continue to grow.

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