Intelligence Travel demand bubbling over in China By TTG Asia / Posted on 19 November, 2020 13:26 The Covid-19 pandemic has not quashed the wanderlust of the vast majority, with most Chinese travellers ready to hit the road again once travel restrictions abate, according to a recent survey conducted by Hilton. The study found that a majority of Chinese believe the pandemic has contributed to a travel memory deficit. As a result, they are already looking ahead to their next trip, hoping to create new travel memories. Of those surveyed, 91% of travellers say they plan to travel again once the travel restrictions ease and they can travel with peace of mind, while 46% say they will travel even more than before. Main driver of Chinese travellers’ desire to travel is to connect with loved ones and create new memories: Hilton survey; Young girls taking a group photo at The Bund in Shanghai, China pictured According to data from Trip.com, the Chinese tourism sector has witnessed a significant recovery during the recent October golden week National Day holiday, with hotel occupancies rebounding to approximately 80% of pre-epidemic levels. Hilton’s research reaffirms Chinese demand and enthusiasm for travel, indicating the growing optimism for the domestic travel market. The survey was conducted by Hilton across 20 major cities in China. Among its findings is the travel memory deficit people are feeling, due in part to missed opportunities for special moments with loved ones. As such, a pent-up demand for travel is bubbling over: 60% of those who plan to travel again say they will stop putting off special trips they have always wanted to take and more than two-thirds (68%) of those looking to travel again will explore places they have never been to before. Some 84% of Chinese travellers claim that missed travel opportunities due to the epidemic has denied them the possibilities to create new travel memories. Furthermore, 91% also say they feel they are deprived of the opportunity to create new travel memories they would have otherwise generated through their experiences interacting with different communities, cultures and ideas. Recreating stories together is the key reason for their travel: 64% of consumers cite creating new moments with their friends, family and partners as their top reason for planning travel, followed by 49% who want to relax and 43% who are keen on discovering new cultures and cuisines. Meanwhile, being in nature remains a huge draw for travel among the Chinese, especially for those who are parents (53%) and Gen X’ers (56%). A number of Chinese also travel for new inspirations: New ideas (24%) and lifelong memories (29%) were listed among the top gains from travel. The Chinese are also keen to reconnect in their relationships through travel, with a staggering 95% of respondents believing that China is facing a travel opportunity deficit. Nearly a third (30%) consider travel as a great occasion for special moments with their loved ones, while 28% think it is a good way for families to relieve the increased levels of stress. As well, Chinese travellers have an increased desire to travel in a responsible manner. The survey shows that many travellers value the impact they have on local communities, as 88% of them support buying local products and dining at local restaurants. A majority of travellers (88%) also consider their impact to the environment when they travel, especially Gen Zers (90%).