China a driving force of growth behind adventure travel

Trip customisation is key whether the adventure activity is casual or extreme

Adventure travel is still at an early stage in the Chinese market, but interest is growing rapidly across the “casual” and “advanced” segments, underscoring the importance for travel providers to personalise their services to meet different needs and provide safety assurance, according to the ITB China Travel Trends Report.

Over 52% of the 300 China outbound agents surveyed believe Chinese travellers are willing to spend more than RMB10,000 (US$1,491) on each adventure trip. In a poll of members in ITB China’s Buyers’ Circle, 80% agree that adventure travel is a category that appeals most strongly to young Chinese born in the 1980s and 1990s. The trends report was created in collaboration with the international consulting and research company Kairos Future and will be presented at ITB China, set to take place from the May 15-17, 2019 in Shanghai.

Trip customisation is key whether the adventure activity is casual or extreme

According to travel industry experts interviewed, it is no coincidence that entrepreneurs and company leaders love adventure: expedition and entrepreneurship have similarities, such as extraordinary courage and dedication, not being afraid of difficulties and challenging oneself.

Adventure travel can take many forms, and the meaning of “adventure” differs widely from traveller to traveller. For some, the ultimate adventure can be found in high adrenaline activities such as skydiving or paragliding. For others, adventure requires embarking on an expedition into the wilderness to engage in activities such as hiking or rock climbing. The interest in adventure among Chinese travellers runs parallel to the strong entrepreneurial ideals present in today’s Chinese society.

Whatever the choice of activity is, trip customisation is key. Among the surveyed travel companies, almost three quarters considered customised and personalised travel experiences to be in high demand or absolutely necessary when it comes to adventure trips – a much higher share then for the other travel themes focussed on in the ITB China Travel Trends Report.

Safety tends to be a central consideration when it comes to adventure travel. This, the report said, highlights the importance of service providers who can assure that everything is under control.

The most important three aspects that Chinese travellers care for in adventure travel are safety (30%), local activities (26%) and scenery (17%).

Safety concerns are more common in China than internationally, as travellers are far less experienced in adventure travel, the ITB China report claims. Topics include safety risks of activities such as bungee jumping as well as the risk of getting lost in the wilderness, and the dangers stemming from not carrying the right equipment. Providers of adventure travel products targeting the outbound Chinese market need to tailor products to traveller segments with different expectations on difficulty, safety and comfort.

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