HONG KONG: The preferences and behaviours of Chinese travellers overseas continue to evolve as new research shows them becoming more adventurous in their choice of destination and accommodation.

In May 2017, Hotels.com carried out a survey of 3,000 China residents, aged 18-54, who had journeyed overseas in the past 12 months for its 2017 Chinese International Travel Monitor, and reported that all age groups were travelling more often and for longer and were seeking out new destinations.

The key factors guiding destination choice included safety, historical/heritage value and being ‘on my bucket list’.

While APAC countries remained the most popular (82%), the study noted that long-haul trips to Europe and the US had significantly increased in popularity in the past year, with the numbers visiting growing 35% and 19% respectively .

This trend is expected to continue in the year ahead, with growing numbers intending to visit the US and Europe for the first time and to venture further afield within the APC region to countries like Australia and New Zealand.

“New and distant are in, familiar and nearby are out,” the report said.

It also observed a shift away from group travel – although this remains popular among tourists from lower tier cities – towards independent travel and themed tours, especially among older tourists.

“Eco-tours, backpacking and theme tours are the new flavour for this [post-60s] generation,” the report stated, as shopping drops down their list of priorities.

Not only are more of this demographic embracing these options, but they intend to do more of this sort of travel in future, especially if accompanied by their children.

That is likely to inform where they choose to stay. Hotels remain the preferred option for the majority (79%), but younger millennials are showing increased interest in alternatives, with 29% of post-90s saying they have used vacation rentals, apartments or hostels in the past year.

And around three quarters of post-80s and post-90s would choose to stay in vacation rental accommodation in the next 12 months.

But wherever Chinese travellers decide to stay, wifi is regarded as essential in order for them to stay in touch with family and friends and to post pictures on social media.

Data sourced from Hotels.com; additional content by WARC staff