Visa and PATA Survey: Mainland Chinese most frequent outbound travelers from Greater China

The Visa and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Asia Pacific Travel Intentions Survey 2010 has found mainland Chinese travelers plan to travel most out of all Greater China travelers.

The Survey, which was conducted in May 2010 and interviewed 1,571 people in the Greater China region, found that on average, mainland Chinese travelers are planning for 7.4 business and leisure trips in the next two years, compared with the 5.6 and 4.5 trips anticipated by Hong Kong and Taiwanese travelers.

The results also show that Greater China travelers are less affected by the economic climate than last year. In the 2009 Survey, 76 percent of Greater China respondents said economic uncertainties would affect their travel plans to the extent that they would either postpone their trips or choose less expensive destination options. However, this year, 50 percent of the respondents said they will travel irrespective of economic uncertainties.

In line with the 2009 survey results, Asia Pacific continues to be the number one destination region for Greater China leisure travelers over the next two years, followed by Western Europe and North America.

Richard Chang, Group Country Manager, Greater China, Visa, said: “This year the survey again highlights the strong intraregional travel preferences that exist among consumers in Greater China. Hong Kong remains a top leisure travel destination for mainland Chinese and Taiwan, while mainland China continues to rank as one of the most favorite holiday destinations for Hong Kongers and Taiwanese travelers. The survey findings provide insights on travelers’ behaviors and spending patterns of Greater China travelers, which enables travel industry players, government tourism agencies, and financial institutions to tailor their marketing strategies and satisfy the needs of overseas travelers.”

John Koldowski, Deputy CEO & Head, Office of Strategy Management, PATA, said, “The insights from the Visa Travel Intentions survey are useful to the whole industry in formulating strategies for sustainable growth. For instance, the survey tells us that countries in the Asia Pacific region will remain the top travel destinations for mainland Chinese visitors over the next two years. That, coupled with the fact that the mainland Chinese became the world’s fourth biggest tourism spenders last year, indicates that we must adapt to the needs of the growing number of affluent mainland Chinese, who have the discretionary spending power for leisure travel.”

The top five Asia Pacific destinations that Greater China leisure travelers surveyed were considering visiting between now and 2012 were:

Key leisure travel preferences for Greater China:

  • Hong Kong remains among the top three travel destinations for mainland Chinese and Taiwanese travelers. Regular mainland Chinese travelers to Hong Kong prefer Hong Kong for its great food and shopping, while Taiwanese travelers like the food and the convenience of Hong Kong as a short haul destination.
  • Thailand appears to be losing appeal as a holiday destination for Hong Kong travelers when compared with results last year, while the Maldives entered their list of top ten destinations for the first time.
  • Australia and Japan have won the hearts of mainland Chinese travelers over Hong Kong as the destination more likely to be considered in Asia Pacific for the coming two years whereas Taiwanese travelers’ preference for Asia Pacific destinations such as Australia and New Zealand has decreased.
  • The survey also shows that Macau has dropped down the priority list for all Greater China travelers, particularly for travelers from Mainland China.

The survey shows that across the region, Visa remains the most preferred brand for Greater China travelers as well as the brand most strongly associated with overseas cash access. 60 percent of travelers selected Visa as the preferred payment card for overseas purchases and cash access for international leisure travel.

The survey also reveals the different travel preference among Greater China travelers.

Profile of mainland Chinese travelers:

  • Natural scenery, sunshine and beaches and new places are key hooks for mainland Chinese planning their holidays.
  • Hong Kong has been the number one destination for leisure travel over the past two years, with repeat visits largely driven by great shopping, dining options and natural scenery. Australia and Japan are the top picks over the next two years.
  • Mainland Chinese are willing to pay extra for good food, cultural experiences and exotic destinations. Mainland Chinese travelers also have a preference for environmentally friendly tourism and cultural immersion programs.
  • Domestic vacations are also on the cards for mainland Chinese travelers. One in three intend to take four to six domestic holidays in the next two years with the key motivation being exploration of other parts of mainland China.
  • Almost 80 percent of mainland Chinese travelers go online as their main source of travel information, more than travelers from any other part of the Greater China region. Popular online sources are online travel guides (general and search engine), travel forums and travel agent booking websites. is the most visited

Profile of Hong Kong travelers:

  • Overall, Hong Kong travelers evaluate the attractiveness of their holiday destination based on local cuisine, natural scenery and the novelty of the destination.
  • Japan, mainland China, and Taiwan were the most popular destinations over the past two years and remain the top travel choices over the next two years. Repeat visits to these destinations were driven largely by enjoyment of the local cuisine and food remains a key draw for repeat visitors in future.
  • Hongkongers will pay outside of their regular travel budget for food, exotic destinations and cultural immersion programs.
  • 64 percent of Hong Kong travelers choose online as their main source of travel information. Online travel guides, travel forums and tourism bureau sites are key online sources with coming in as the most favored website. Facebook is popular across all demographic segments of Hong Kong travelers who want to share travel plans and experiences with friends.

Profile of Taiwanese travelers:

  • Natural scenery, novelty and affordability of travel (including promotions and deals) are the principle motivators for Taiwanese deciding on a holiday destination.
  • Mainland China, Japan and Hong Kong were the most visited destinations over the past two years. Repeat visits to Japan were largely driven by the local cuisine, its clean environment and the Japanese culture. Others revisited mainland China for the natural scenery, variety of states/ cities to visit, and great food and dining while great food and accessibility were the attractions in Hong Kong. Japan is the clear favorite for future travel.
  • Taiwanese are willing to pay extra for exotic destinations, food and cultural immersion programs.
  • Three in four consider the Internet as their main source of information, with Facebook being the most popular platform for sharing travel plans and experiences. The motivation to post holiday activities online is the same as with Hong Kong travelers – to document and share memorable experiences.


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