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If you’re not prepared to court Chinese travellers, then you are probably already behind the curve. According to a study by IHG, 61 million Chinese households will pass the earning threshold of $35,000 a year by 2023, on top of 21 million households that have already passed this number from 2003 – 2013. This threshold is important because once it is crossed, international travel becomes much more feasible.
Many of this emerging Chinese middle class will look like Gong Xiaoyun, a millennial traveller with a big appetite for adventure. She travels on a budget, but is also a Cultural Puristaccording to our Traveller Tribes research, who believes in fully immersing herself in the local way of life whenever she travels. Compared to the previous generation, she says that she takes a much more different view of travel – one that is anchored on an eagerness to explore the world outside of China on her own terms.
As a budget traveller, she says that finding reasonably priced plane tickets and accommodation are key when planning her trips. She emphasises that being a budget traveller is not about being cheap – rather it’s about managing spending within a set budget for the trip.
Similar to her millennial counterparts in the West, Xiaoyun researches her travel plans online. Online reviews are important to her, but she doesn’t focus on the positive ones. Instead she looks at the negative comments and decides if she can put up with a similar experience.
Sharing her travel journey is also important and she’ll often post pictures of her trip on social media channels like WeChat. Beyond that, she also shares tips and useful information with likeminded travellers on the Chinese budget travel portal qyer.com.