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Survey: New rich developing taste for tourism

(China Daily)

15:27, June 03, 2013

Grace Santorini, a boutique hotel in Greece. Tourism reigns supreme as the No 1 leisure pursuit for the newly wealthy in China. (China Daily)

China's luxury travel market will continue to grow in the near future thanks to its emerging wealthy class.

Last year, there were approximately 8,100 billionaires in China, up 600 from last year.

Among them, some 2,700 have been identified and an estimated 5,400 more are believed to exist.

Those are said to have "hidden" wealth.

Around 600 individuals achieved 1 billion dollars or more in assets last year, 263 individuals of whom have been identified and 340 of whom are classified as having "hidden" wealth.

Most of them are from first-tier cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Others are from such second-tier cities as Tianjin, Nanjing, Wuhan, Shenyang, Xi'an, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Jinan, Qingdao, Dalian, Ningbo and Suzhou.

Official statistics show tourism reigns supreme as the number one leisure pursuit for China's newly wealthy.

Some 63 percent of surveyed high-net-worth individuals listed travel as their preferred leisure activity, an annual increase of 2 percent.

Their demands are becoming more diverse, and they are searching for a distinctive travel experience, according to an industry expert.

Alison Gilmore, director of the International Luxury Travel Market, said that ILTM events are hubs created exclusively to develop the business of bespoke luxury travel.

"Agents and buyers attending ILTM Asia from across the region will have the opportunity to ensure they're ahead of the game in meeting their clients' increasing demands during activities such as educational seminars and business networking," Gilmore said.

According to statistics from the National Tourism Administration, the number of outbound Chinese tourists totaled 83 million in 2012, an annual increase of 18.4 percent.

The market is now the largest in the world, ahead of that of Germany and the United States.

It is expected that the outbound tourism market in China will continue to grow this year, with the number of tourists projected to reach 94 million.

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