Hong Kong has replaced Japan as Chinese travellers’ most considered destination between January to March this year, ever since China ended its quarantine requirement for inbound travellers earlier in January.
Research from YouGov, analysed by YouGov’s global sector head of travel & tourism, Eva Stewart and Asia-Pacific data journalist Samuel Tan, shows that the percentage of Chinese consumers who are planning to travel in the next 12 months has since grown steadily month-over-month.
At the same time, tourism boards and tour operators across Asia-Pacific – including Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia – have launched campaigns to attract Chinese travellers back to their shores, over the first quarter of 2023.
But has the list of destinations that Chinese travellers are most considering a visit to significantly changed over the past two months?
What destinations are Chinese travellers most hoping to visit?
Latest data from YouGov DestinationIndex, which tracks consumer perceptions toward travel destinations on a daily basis worldwide, shows that Hong Kong is the most considered travel destination among Chinese consumers who are planning to take one or more trips in the next 12 months, as of March.
The special administrative region off the southern coast of the Chinese mainland, which was the fourth most considered travel destination in January 2023, saw its consideration score gain 6.1 percentage points between January 8 to March 8.
In early February, the Hong Kong tourism board announced plans to distribute 500,000 free flight tickets to the territory – from a range of carriers that include Hong Kong Airlines – as part of its Hello Hong Kong campaign to boost international travel to the city.
Other destinations that saw an improvement in their consideration ranking include Indonesia’s Bali, which climbed to the runner-up spot from fifth place, and Macau, which moved to fourth place from sixth. Meanwhile, New Zealand took the eighth spot up from 11th, while France was the sole European destination that made it to the top 10, up from 12th place.
On the other hand, Japan, which was the most considered travel destination as of January 8, fell to seventh place by March 8, after losing 2.6 percentage points in its consideration score. At the end of December, Japan introduced mandatory Covid-19 testing for all travellers from China, which it subsequently eased only in March.
Meanwhile, Singapore and Dubai retain their spots at seventh and ninth place, despite seeing improvements of 1.1 and 0.4 percentage points in their consideration scores respectively.
What distinguishes Chinese travellers considering a visit to Hong Kong from the average Chinese consumer?
Latest data from YouGov Global Travel Profiles, which tracks global consumer demand and attitudes towards travel on a daily basis, reveals that Chinese consumers who are planning one or more trips in the next 12 months and considering Hong Kong as a travel destination are significantly more likely to prefer atypical holidays that allow them to learn about new things.
More than two in three of such Chinese consumers said they “like to come back from a holiday learning something new”, while over three in five said they “like to go off the beaten track” on holidays.
When it comes to planning their travels, such Chinese consumers are more likely than average to turn to social media platforms and seek out information from family and friends. They are also more likely than the general Chinese consumer to book their holiday lodgings via online accommodation websites – such as Airbnb, Agoda, Hotels.com and Trivago.
YouGov DestinationIndex tracks consumer perceptions toward travel destinations on a daily basis in 30 countries worldwide. A destination’s Consideration score is based on the question: “Thinking about your next vacation by air alone or with friends, family, a partner or spouse, which of the following destinations would you consider?” (% Yes).
Data referenced in this article from surveys of adults aged 16 years and above residing in China between December 8 2022 and January 8, 2023, and between February 8 and March 8, 2023.
YouGov Global Travel Profiles tracks global consumer demand and attitudes towards travel on a daily basis. Global Travel Profiles data for China is representative of the online population and weighted by age and gender.