Foreign media: Young Chinese backpackers hitting the road

Updated: 2014-10-15 12:47


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China's thriving economy has created a demand for foreign travel, and young Chinese backpackers have started to identify themselves abroad, according to a report by the Guardian newspaper.

It said that although the majority of Chinese are joining package tours to visit traditional tourist attractions during public holidays, a growing number of them are opting for independent trips to explore new destinations.

The newspaper quoted 33-year-old Hong Mei, reportedly "the first Chinese female to backpack across India", as saying: "We are seeking a more experiential form of travel and cultural immersion than has traditionally been offered to us."

Hong Mei is one of the typical young Chinese who are becoming the main force of foreign travel. According to a recent forum of World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) held in Beijing, more than half of China's outbound tourists are from the post-80s generation.

Compared with western backpackers, the daily said their Chinese counterparts are more concerned about visa durations rather than budgets. As a result, many of them try to visit as many places as possible in one trip.

The WTCF report said that easier visa approval, streamlining and speeding up procedures will enable more Chinese outbound tourism.

The young visitors are also helping to drive the technology products related to the travel industry.

Chinese travel agency Ctrip has reportedly sold more than 10,000 flights and hotels for 442 destinations since launching its multi-language app in October, according to the Guardian.

WTCF said online travel revenue in 2013 reached 2.85 trillion yuan ($464 billion), accounting for 7.7 percent of the total revenue recorded by the industry, and the number is going up.

In 2013, 98.19 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad, an 18 percent increase year-on-year, with each spending more than 19,000 yuan ($3,095) on average.

"Until now Chinese faces have been conspicuous by their absence in hostels across the world. That seems set to change," said the newspaper.

For Chinese people, filial traditions dictated that young people should not travel far while their parents were still alive, according to the saying fumu zai, bu yuanyou in "The Analects of Confucius". This idea seems to be changing among the younger generation as well.