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More than half of Chinese millennials see travel as a new form of social currency. This is according to a new study from travel technology company Sabre which aimed to understand the major trends shaping China’s booming travel trade. The research found these digital natives are motivated beyond traditional sightseeing. A quarter of survey respondents sought relaxation.  Others said they wanted to have a good time with friends or family (22%), and seek a better understanding of foreign cultures (17%). Of the 51% of respondents who equate travel with social currency, 57% said ‘travel is a a platform to connect and build stronger emotional bonds’ and 56% see it as ‘a way of enriching their life experiences to share with friends and family.” Just under half of the millennials surveyed considered ‘travel as a means of personal improvement.’

Outbound travel from China is experiencing a recent surge due to higher disposable income, advanced technology solutions and access to relevant travel information. Nine out of 10 Chinese travellers now have the means and are hoping to travel more frequently as compared to five years ago. Three to five years ago, respondents felt that there was a lack of travel information available to them (60%). Now, nearly half of the respondents (46%) believe that there are too many travel options and information available. The survey found most Chinese travellers (78%) still welcome and value support from friends, relatives and travel service providers. The research concluded that travel service providers can better reach this market by determining what is useful and relevant for them.

“As China continues to cement its position as the world’s largest outbound travel market, it’s especially important that travel service providers and businesses have a deeper understanding of the Chinese traveller’s evolving preferences to effectively cater to their needs,” said Alan Chen, regional director, North Asia, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. “It is by observing current attitudes and aspirations that we are able to anticipate and understand the dynamics of the Chinese market within the broader context of a transforming travel landscape.”

The report was completed in collaboration with Donghua University in January 2017, based on a quantitative survey of more than 1,000 questionnaires across the Chinese market, combining market and academic insights.
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Source: Sabre, May 2017