Research: 16.3% of Chinese Travelers are Looking for Adventure

TORONTO—When it comes to adventure travelers, China is an untapped market totaling $8.2 billion per year, according to new research from Bannikin Travel and Tourism, a travel consultancy based in Toronto and Hong Kong.

The China Adventure Tourism Market Study, which surveyed more than 300 Chinese travelers over the age of 18 who had taken a trip in the past year, determined that 16.3% of respondents­ chose an adventure trip for their last holiday. For a market with outbound tourism numbers continuing to see double-digit growth, this means there are considerable opportunities for adventure travel brands looking to expand their product offerings for Chinese adventurers.

“This report delves deep into who Chinese adventure travelers are—their planning habits, income, spending habits and dream destinations,” said Natasha Martin, managing director of Bannikin Asia. “We’ve never had better insight into how to market toward the Asian travel market and break into one of the largest tourism spends out there.”

The 2019 study found that 2.7% of departures could be categorized as “hard adventure,” while 13.6% pursued “soft adventure” experiences. Though Chinese consumers do not necessarily associate adventure travel with risk-taking activities, such as rafting or mountain biking, they do associate it with remote destinations that can be perceived as exotic and potentially dangerous.

The survey was sent with the objective of discovering how many Chinese travelers actively seek out adventure while on vacation. Here are the report’s main findings:

  • The total adventure market size for China (based on accommodation spending only) is $8.2 billion per year.
  • Adventure travel spend from China represents 0.64% of total international tourism spend.
  • The top destinations for adventure travelers were United States, Thailand, Australia and Japan.
  • Time in nature, camping and backpacking are some of the most popular activities for Chinese adventure tourists.
  • 72% of Chinese adventure travelers spend between 4-10 days abroad, lower than Western adventure travelers.