Difference between tourists from South and North of China


As stated in the Annual Report of China Outbound Tourism Development 2009/2012, there has been 70.25 million people traveling abroad in 2011, increasing by 22%. According to size, China outbound market has already been one of the biggest markets on the globe, 1.2 times the US market, 3.5 times the Japanese market. And Chinese tourists have spent $71 billion everywhere in the world.

Chinese Tourists

So studying what Chinese tourists like and how to comfort and attract them has become a trend in the tourism industry worldwide. Even some governments have taken action to take the share from this market. For example, New Zealand and Thailand tourism departments have pushed hard to develop the tourism market in China this year.

New Zealand tourism promotion

New Zealand tourism promotion

Thailand tourism promotion

Thailand tourism promotion

However, some unique characteristic of Chinese tourists has become headaches for many foreign tourism companies. No matter how much effort they put, Chinese tourists are just not satisfied or even not attracted at all. There are many reasons for those problems and one quite important factor is the regional difference between tourists from south and north.

They are mainly different in two ways: a habit of travel and expense.

Chinese Travel habit

According to the Nielsen China Outbound Travel Monitor, most Chinese tourists are from the south. In 2008, 10% of the residents from the South of China have taken an outbound travel, much higher than that in the North.

The better economic base can probably explain the higher outbound travel frequency of Chinese tourists from the south.

Another possible reason is the convenience. Most travel agencies capable of outbound travel organization are from the south. For example, 72.16% of the group tourists that year travel via agencies from Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Amongst these five regions, Beijing is the only region located in the north.

Geographic convenience also accounts for the difference in travel frequency between tourists from north and south. The countries close to China north are Russia, North Korea and Mongolia who can’t compete with the countries neighboring China in the south in tourism like Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand and so on.

Chinese Expense habit

Though the number of tourists from the north of China is smaller than that of the south, they would like to spend more. According to the study released by Nielsen, 10% of the tourists from south of China prefer to stay in 5-star hotels or vacation villas while the people who like 5-star hotels and vacation villas accounts for 20% of all the tourists from north of China. (source)

source Sina Tourist

Actually, tourists from the north of China are generous in many ways. That explains why in 2008, the average expense for each outbound trip of a northern tourist reached $3,560. At that time, the CNY in USD Exchange rate was about 8.3 to 1.

These are the major difference between Chinese tourists from south and north.  There is also a lot of difference in details like customs, hobbies, accommodations and so on.

What should you care about your Chinese customers?


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