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In my last blog post I introduced you to Gong Xiaoyun, one of a new wave of young, independent Chinese tourists who are foregoing the flag-waving group tours of their predecessors to see the world on their own terms. But does the emergence of this new breed of Chinese travellers mean that the group tour is dead? Not at all. In fact, according to an analysis by Skift.com of Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia’s (CLSA) survey of more than 400 outbound Chinese travellers, the number of Chinese group tour travellers is steadily increasing.
Our latest Amadeus Travel Lounge guest, Ma Li, is a huge fan of the group tour. Extremely well-travelled, Ma Li always goes with a group tour because of the ease and convenience they offer. Typical of Simplicity Searchers as identified in our Traveller Tribes research , travellers like Ma Li are willing to outsource their decision-making to trusted parties to avoid having to do extensive research and planning themselves.
On a group tour, Ma Li doesn’t have to worry about anything, whether it’s booking hotels, planning itineraries, or arranging transportation. For her husband, the fun in joining a group tour is the opportunity to make new friends and interact with people they typically wouldn’t meet in their daily lives.
She also points out that group tours appeal particularly to older Chinese travellers who may not have the energy or experience to plan a full trip themselves, or who may not have many companions who can travel with them.
But aside from all these benefits, Ma Li says that the best thing about a group tour is that it gives her complete ease of mind – she never has to worry about unforeseen circumstances that come up during travel. She shared with us that on a previous trip to England there was a worker strike that shut down the airport, leaving them stranded. Her tour guide, on his own initiative, contacted his Chinese friends living in the city and arranged for the travellers to stay with them until the airport reopened. This allowed them to avoid having to pay for expensive hotel rooms that they had not budgeted for. Talk about going above and beyond! As Ma Li points out, this wouldn’t have been possible if she was on her own.
Find out more about Ma Li’s experiences as a Chinese group tour traveller in her Amadeus Travel Lounge video.