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China Outbound Travel Sentiment - 2023 Q3 Survey: A Deep Dive into Evolving Trends and Preferences

Building on the momentum of the Q2 survey, China Trading Desk is excited to present the Q3 study that delves deeper into China's outbound tourism landscape. This quarter, we explore not just the what and where, but also the why and how behind the travel aspirations and behaviours of Chinese tourists. Buckle up as we journey through these eye-opening insights!


Resilience Amidst Challenges:

Although the global pandemic continues to pose challenges, our survey shows an undeterred spirit among Chinese travellers. While we observed 6 million overseas trips in the first half of the year, the trend continues to show promise with a majority of our respondents indicating plans to travel abroad within the next 12 months.


A Closer Look at Demographics:

  • Age: The Young Lead the Way

While the Q2 survey showed a predominant age bracket of 25-34 years, this quarter, the younger generation aged 18-24 is taking the lead. This could signify a shift in the market towards younger travellers.

  • Gender: A Balanced Playing Field

In a departure from last quarter's slight male predominance, the Q3 survey reveals a stronger female representation, highlighting an increased enthusiasm for travel among young female adults.

  • Economic Profile: The Middle-Class Rise

Last quarter noted fewer high earners travelling. This trend solidifies in Q3, with the majority of respondents falling in the 8K - 10K and 10K - 20K monthly household income brackets.


Destinations and Airlines: New Favorites Emerge

  • Shuffling Ranks

Japan and Europe were the stars of Q2, but this quarter brings in a diversified wishlist with new destinations gaining popularity.

  • Flying Preferences

While Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Qatar Airways were the go-to choices last quarter, this time around, we see new entries in the list of preferred international airlines.


The How and Why of Travel:

  • Planning Strategies: The Social Influence

In addition to travel apps and Xiaohongshu, this quarter observes that official destination websites play a significant role in planning.

  • Safety and Language Still Reign

Consistent with Q2, safety and language considerations continue to be paramount for Chinese travellers.

  • The Experience Economy

Building on the Q2 trend towards nature-oriented local experiences, Q3 identifies a broader range of experiences that travellers are seeking, from food tasting to cultural immersion.

  • Booking Behavior: Spontaneity is Key

A significant change from last quarter is in booking preferences. While earlier, most travellers booked within 2 weeks to 1 month of travel, we now see an even shorter planning window, indicating a more spontaneous approach.

Unveiling Destination-Specific Insights

This quarter, we've elevated our analysis by cross-referencing destination choices with other respondent preferences to offer nuanced insights. Our deep dives explore patterns for key destinations such as Singapore, Europe, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.


Noteworthy Findings:

  • South Korea's Female Allure: A staggering 74% of female respondents are setting their sights on South Korea for their next getaway.

  • Europe's Uncertain Call: Intriguingly, 42% of those considering Europe as a destination have yet to finalize their travel timeline.

  • The UK's Youthful Appeal: The United Kingdom seems to be a hit among the younger crowd, with 80% of interested travellers being under 30.

  • Payment Evolution in South Korea & Thailand: Both destinations show a strong preference for Alipay & WeChat Pay, highlighting the growing prominence of digital payments in these countries.

  • Singapore’s Shopping Spree: Uniquely, Singapore is the only destination where 'Shopping' ranks among the top three spending categories.

The Q3 survey not only corroborates many of the trends identified in Q2 but also introduces new variables into the mix. For stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry, these insights are not just data points but a roadmap to understanding and catering to the dynamically evolving preferences of Chinese travellers.


By leveraging these insights, businesses can fine-tune their strategies to create more targeted and appealing offerings, thereby playing an instrumental role in driving the growth of China's outbound tourism market.


Contact us if you would like to receive a copy of the survey.

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