Shopping is becoming less of a focus for Chinese tourists as they increasingly gravitate towards cultural experiences, according to latest data.
According to insights by GfK and ForwardKeys, South Korea, Thailand and Japan remain the top three travel destinations for Chinese holidaymakers with huge spikes in advanced bookings found for the April to September period.
Air ticket purchases to South Korea have increased by 85 per cent over the same period last year, and Thailand and Japan have registered increased bookings by 60 and 50 per cent respectively.
For the Chinese, countries like Japan and Thailand are cultural destinations and the continued increase in interest likely signals a shift in Chinese travel preferences.
Furthermore, both countries have eased requirements for Chinese travellers and this has “positively impacted tourism”, said Olivier Jager, CEO of ForwardKeys.
On the other hand, the number of visitors to Hong Kong for the April-September period has plunged by 48 per cent.
Laurens Van Den Oever, global lead for travel and hospitality, GfK, said in a press statement: “Trips to Hong Kong from China are down, affected to some degree by the yellow umbrella protest that took place over an extended period of time in the fourth quarter of last year.
“A GfK study on the destination image of the top five Asian countries among Chinese reported that the key draw of Hong Kong is shopping; and the decline in tourist numbers could mean that shopping is no longer a priority for mainlanders.”