Chinese Luxury Traveler 2018 Report

The Hurun Research Institute and ILTM China have joined forces to release The Chinese Luxury Traveler 2018 for the eight successive year. 

According to the report, high-end travelers most loved travelling in Europe, with the Americas and Africa on the rise in second and third place.

Parent-child travel becomes the new travel theme and the biggest travel worries are traffic safety, followed by natural disaster, robbery and being ripped off. 


Key Findings of the Report:


Africa rose fastest, breaking into the top three as it increased from 15% last year to 29%. The Americas increased by 5%, rising to second. Top-placed Europe fell 6% compared with last year.

Top 5 overseas destinations for Chinese high-end travelers

Travel Themes

The surprise vacation theme last year was islands and beaches. Its popularity seems to have peaked, however, with the selection rate dipping to 13% this year. 

Travel around the world saw the fastest rate of growth, establishing itself in pole position with an increase from 13% last year to 37%. 

Polar exploration, the most popular theme last year, fell by 8.5% and takes second place with a rate of 22%. 

Travel around the world ranks at the top, indicating that people are travelling while learning, though interest in Polar exploration has gone down a lot this year.

Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher

A prominent new travel theme in recent years, parent-child travel enters the top three with 19%.

Vacation Destinations for 2019 Chinese New Year

64% of respondents have chosen to take an outbound trip during Chinese New Year. 

The top three destinations are Australia (20%), Thailand (18%) and New Zealand (17%). 29% of respondents will stay in China. 

The most popular choice is to return to one’s hometown, with 10%, followed by trips to Sanya and Yunnan close behind with 8% and 6% respectively.

Travel Times

The proportion of travelers choosing not to travel at fixed times throughout the year increases by 8% compared with previous year, up to 45%. 

With regards to travel during public holidays, the Chinese New Year is the top choice, taking up 23%; the National Day holiday (19%) comes second, while the Labour Day holiday (8%) and Mid-Autumn Festival (6%) are the next most popular. Travelling during the summer holiday season increased once again by 4%, up to 19%.

Main Travel Concerns

The biggest travel worries are traffic safety, with a noteworthy 42%, followed by natural disasters(25%), robbery and theft (22%), being ripped off (12%), dietary hygiene (11%) and travel facility safety (11%). It is clear that safety issues are the biggest concerns for travelers.

Travel Agency Selection

Over half of high-end travelers opt for personalised service as the key consideration when a selecting a travel agency, with half choosing a well-planned itinerary. 45% of travelers prioritise problem-solving capacity.Creative itineraries and hard-to-find resources are among the top five factors for consideration, having been chosen by nearly 30% of travelers.


When it comes to domestic airlines, Air China is the carrier of choice among high-end travelers by a considerable margin with 50%; China Eastern comes second, with its selection rate increasing by 7% to 28%; China Southern ranks third with 23%. Among international airlines, Emirates remains in top spot.


Ritz-Carlton is the most popular luxury hotel brand once again. With regards to hotel membership, the Hyatt scheme is the most popular, being preferred by 26% of high-end travelers, up from a mere 3% last year. 

Holiday Rentals

In addition to traditional hotel accommodation, 24% of travelers will consider Airbnb-style holiday home rentals, more or less the same proportion as the previous year. ‘Strong sense of belonging and experience of local life’, ‘lower price’, and ‘family atmosphere’ are their main rationale for taking this route. 

Rupert Hoogewerf says ‘the performance of the high-end short-stay holiday home market has been weak. However, as traveling as a family grows in popularity, the market is likely to see significant development in the future.”

Home Stay

24% of people would choose homestay, maintaining the same level as last year. “Better understanding the local life”, “reasonable prices”, “family atmosphere” are the main reasons for them to choose homestay. Rupert Hoogewerf says, “High-end homestay should have a bright future, and lot of people like to travel with two or three families.”

Popular Cuisine

ocal cuisine is undoubtedly the most popular style of food when traveling. Other well-received cuisines among high-end travelers, ranked in order of popularity, include Japanese, Sichuan and Hunan, Cantonese, Italian, French and Southeast Asian.

Holiday Homes

Nearly half of high-end travelers interviewed have purchased holiday homes, with 11% of them in Thailand, 10% in Australia and 5% in both Switzerland and Japan; in China, Sanya is the location of choice, with a selection rate of 12%. The homes have an average floor space of 100m2. Apartments and villas are the favoured mode of residence. In terms of surrounding environs, homes with a sea view are the most popular.

Future Trends

Demand for smart accommodation experiences, including VR, house-viewing videos and AI services, is expected to rise.


The quantitative survey encompasses data from 236 respondents, showing that they have been to 20 countries on average, and 20% have been to 50 countries. Average spending on family travel is CNY350,000. 

Rupert Hoogewerf says, “It really takes an effort to find more than 200 high net worth individuals who spend more than CNY 350,000 per year on travel. These people represent the future trend of China’s high-end travel. We highly appreciate the support from four agencies, including Diadema, Magic Travel, Zanadu, and 8continents, to our research this year.

The above is an except originally published by the much-respected Hurun Report. For full report, please click here

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