As Chinese travelers gear up for the Lunar New Year holiday, more are eschewing the group tours for independent travel.
Yuwei Zhangzou represents a new type of Chinese tourist. As Chinese travellers gear up for the Lunar New Year holiday, which this year runs from Feb. 10 to 17, more of the people who can afford to travel abroad are eschewing the group tours and shop-til-you-drop holidays that were popular before the pandemic and opting for more adventurous, experience-based trips like Zhangzou's, industry experts say. "Independent travellers might be spending a bit more on travel and accommodation and so on, but they may well offset it by not spending as much in the luxury goods shops," said Steve Saxon, a Shenzhen-based partner at McKinsey & Co. "There's a trend to be more active and that is flowing through into the types of trips people want to take," he added. Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager at Shanghai-headquartered Spring Tour, the tour agency arm of budget airline Spring Airlines, said its Lunar New Year offers for Europe sold out weeks before the festival, even though prices remain above pre-pandemic levels. Chief Executive Jane Sun told Reuters the agency was changing its approach to group tour offers to accommodate travellers' desire for more independence and flexibility. "Consumer behavior is changing. So we have new products private tours where the family will hire a driver, a tour guide, and design their own tour. For young families, these are very popular," Sun said, adding that such trips were growing in the "Triple digits". Trip. com data shows popular outbound destinations for this year's Lunar New Year holiday include Southeast Asia, Japan and Australia.