8 Continents says island travel still top of Chinese bucket list

Island tours are still very high on the priority list of first- time travellers from China, according to outbound operator 8 Continents Travel.

The company’s CEO, Bamboo Jizhong Zhou, has shared statistics from his database, revealing that among those who step out of China, up to 85% travel to islands within the first three years.

First-time travellers from China are being seen as one of the most attractive segments to target for outbound tourism. It is estimated that 16-17% of the 1.4 billion population has travelled abroad to date. Moreover, the Chinese passport can now allow Chinese to travel to 74 countries and territories around the world with no visa or visa on arrival.

Zhou says Southeast Asian islands generally are no longer considered as “worth-being- proud honeymoon travel destinations, but long-haul ones are, such as Fiji, Tahiti, Seychelles, Santorini and so on.”

“Thailand and Maldives are not new but are still the most popular two for Chinese people,” adds Zhou.

For travellers looking for standard itineraries, online availability is one way to attract them. But for those who are keen on exploring new activities or even locations, relevant content or reviews would add much more value: “For a travel package featuring personalised travel products, my suggestion is to prepare as much information as supplier can online to enable potential consumer to read and make decisions on what they really need,” said Zhou. This will greatly benefit different stakeholders involved, he felt.

“So far, the best example I have even seen globally is Australian’s Hamilton Island,” adds Zhou.

He mentioned that all of this comes on the top of what is generally expected by all travellers. Six key points are:

  • Safety;
  • Being China-ready including Chinese speaking staff or tour guides;
  • Quality of accommodation;
  • Food and Beverage, especially Chinese or Asian flavours for certain Chinese travellers;
  • Proper activities for certain purpose travellers;
  • Special care

“Actually, all should be done – excursion, shopping, dining, accommodation, transportation, entertainment, as well as daily service and occasional ‘wow’ surprise (for instance, tourists also hope to have surprises, such as birthday wishes or honeymoon owers),” concluded Zhou.


Photo: Bamboo Jizhong Zhou CEO, 8 Continents Travel