The UK fails to rank in the top ten favourite destinations for Chinese and Japanese travellers, a new study shows.
Britain is rated only as fairly popular with people from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia despite predictions that the Asian travel appetite in 2014 will get stronger, with a forecast increase of 17% in travel budgets over last year.
The findings come from an annual survey of more than 3,400 Travelzoo Asia Pacific subscribers from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
The results highlighted a transformation in the holiday spending patterns of mainland Chinese travellers, with the majority willing to spend more to upgrade their holiday experiences and stay in high-end accommodation.
Mainland Chinese subscribers continue to lead the region in travel frequency, taking an average of 6.5 leisure trips and spending an estimated $8,200 on average in 2014 – with Japan and the US being the top destinations.
This is followed by the Japanese with five leisure trips and an average spend of $4,800; Taiwanese with 4.4 trips and an average spend of $6,170 and Hong Kong travellers with 4.3 leisure trips and an average spend of $6,900.
Australians travel the least, with an average of 3.5 leisure trips in 2014. However, they plan to spend an average of $9,340.
The study also pointed to Asian travellers’ preference for independent travel and high-quality holiday experiences.
When respondents were asked what best describes their attitude towards leisure travel, 62% said they prefer to explore at their own pace and more than half (54%) view rest and relaxation as key to their holiday experiences.
Almost half will focus on improving the quality of their holiday, spending more on hotels, food and entertainment, and less on shopping.
Travellers from mainland China subscribers spend more than their regional counterparts on accommodation, at an average of $169 per night, based on double occupancy, compared to the regional average of $140.
Their desire for quality was further reflected in their choice of accommodation, ranking beachfront villas or hotels as their top choice, followed by boutique hotels and luxury properties.
Group tours’ appeal continued to decline among all subscribers, with a regional average of just 30% wanting such holidays. Instead, more than 51% prefer all-inclusive holiday packages and purchasing accommodation and transportation only.
More than 80% will use mobile internet during their holidays, with an overwhelming 98% mainland Chinese subscribers claiming that they will do so, followed by 93% from Hong Kong.
The study showed that 84% of Asian travellers say the first thing they would do when they reach a café/restaurant or hotel is to check for free wi-fi.
When asked which destination they have visited in the past but will not consider visiting again, the overwhelming answer was the Philippines, followed by China, Korea, Singapore and Indonesia.
Travelzoo Asia Pacific chief executive Jason Yap said: “The study confirms that Asia Pacific remains an important growth engine for global tourism.
“Asian travellers will lead in driving global tourism in years to come.
“Through our subscribers and workings with travel suppliers, we see trends ahead of the curve. Some companies are already capitalising on this by offering higher levels of personalised and quality vacation products.
“Those that set standards and create higher value will certainly benefit from the golden period of Asia’s tourism development.
“The study also reflects Travelzoo’s effective role in stimulating incremental travel and demand for higher quality holiday experience, especially in China.
“More Chinese travellers are apparently searching for higher quality holiday experience to rest, relax and seek personal pursuits. They are also most willing to spend more on improving vacation quality.”
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