A booming travel industry in China indicates another strong sign of emerging middle class consumers. The online travel sites such as Ctrip, Qunar (???), and Aoyou (??) have all experienced exponential growth in online airline tickets and hotel bookings.
A recent survey conducted by online travel search engine Qunar.com (???) – meaning “where are you going?” – portrayed a typical middle class profile: among frequent travelers, about 88 percent have college degrees; 35 percent own their own condominium or home; more than two-thirds have computers at home; and most amazingly, seventy-three percent are using credit cards to book their tickets.
With increased disposable income and a keen desire to see the world, Chinese consumers are spending their money on travel. I see a dramatic shift in their lifestyle, especially pertaining to leisure travel. The hotel chains in China, offering equivalent service to Best Western with reasonable prices ranging from $20 to $40, make traveling quite affordable.
An interesting characteristic of Chinese traveling is organized group travel. As a benefit, many companies provide group travel service to their employees. It works exceptionally well. For companies, it’s a great way for team building and morale; for employees, it’s a practical way to get discounted prices for hotels and airline tickets. Culturally, Chinese are very social and cost conscious. At least at this point, traveling with colleagues doesn’t bother them very much at all. If this trend continues, it will likely result in mass traveling in China in the near future.
Since a few years ago, my sister and her family have been traveling every summer to different tourist destinations such as Dunhuang????and Jiuzhaigou (???), which makes me entirely envious. It’s all because of the organized group travels!
Before long, Chinese will travel abroad. The survey by Qunar says almost 40 percent of current travelers are expecting to travel overseas for their next trip. The immediate destinations for Chinese travelers are Australia, Thailand, United States and Europe. The Chinese travel industry is predicted to reach $1.6 billion in 2007.