Differences between Chinese and foreign travellers

Some differences can be observed between the travel habits of Chinese tourists and those of foreign tourists. Here, we present some common features, but of course, do not make generality!

Prepared or relaxed?

In the airport, during a flight, or around the tourism sites, we can see many foreigners read ” Travel Guide of China”, or check carefully plan of the city. Many of them are visiting China for the first time. However, before arriving in China, they have accumulated cultural and historical information about their destination, reading books and browsing the web.

Compared to the serious preparation before a foreign trip, Chinese tourists have a more relaxed approach. Instead of spending their time collecting information, most of them kill their time by chatting, watching a movie, playing cards or sleeping during the trip.

chinese tourists

Which type of visit?

Many foreign travellers stay in a city for several days and take the time to discover the cultural and human activities in the area. Most Chinese will select a package organized by a travel agency to avoid potential problems in a place that is unknown to them. They spend an hour or two at the selected location to take pictures and listen to the guide, then hurry to leave for their next destination. Exhausted by the journey, they will be always happy to share with their friends the pictures they took on the sites they have visited.

Many Chinese have begun to travel abroad in recent years. They are curious but remaining cautious. Some of them, however, persist to eat Chinese food, avoiding all the local products during their trip.

Foreigners, who are more experienced travellers, seem more open to exotic. They love Chinese food (article), especially local specialties that have gained a worldwide reputation, such as Peking duck, stuffed buns and steamed Tianjin (or Goubuli).

In the Theatres of Chaoyang and Tianqiao in Beijing, where Chinese acrobats perform amazing feats, or bars in Beijing in Shichahai, or on Hengshan Road and Xintiandi in Shanghai, where young people gather, you’ll always find foreign tourists. They often spent the day admiring the beautiful landscapes, and then seek to discover the exotic nightlife of the city.

chinese high spending tourist


Luxury brand or local souvenirs?

In more and more countries, Chinese tourists are the biggest spenders, as confirmed by experts. In France, about 87% of the total expenditure of the average Chinese traveller are devoted to fashion items such as shoes and handbags, and 93 % of purchases are made in and around the French capital. This craze for shopping is due to two main factors: a booming economy in China, and a price differential of the taxation of luxury goods in China.

Instead of buying fashion items, foreign tourists prefer to buy local souvenirs as gifts for their friends. In China, American tourists often buy souvenirs such as pearl necklaces, Chinese paintings, embroidery, thangka, clay figurines and other exotic and typical objects.

Personal or group experience?

Chinese people consider travels as ” entertainment ” and relaxing experience. They rarely travel alone, but rather with family or friends. The pleasure of being in a group is one of their main pleasures when they travel.

Foreign tourists move according to their interests, and they usually focus on personal experience, many of them prefer to travel alone.

In the United States, you will often see young men while hiking, equipped with a tent and a backpack. They may be exposed to cold and humidity during the trip, but they will find an inner calm on the road.

These different habits of displacement are arising from cultural differences. Chinese tourism is still in its infancy.


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