8 out of 10 Chinese consumers prefer an individual tour through Europe.
Written by: Fei Zhou, Chinese Millennial and traveller.
I have travelled quite frequently in the past year. From the classic European cities, via the urban parts of the American east coast, to lesser known natural gems like Texel and the Belgian Ardennes.
Texel is a small Dutch island of stunning beauty, but it is not on most travelers' itinerary. And there are absolutely no Chinese tour groups there. Interestingly, I hardly saw any Chinese tour groups in any of the destinations I visited in 2016. This is not how it used to be. What’s happening here?
Chinese millennials - like myself - are becoming a strong force in Chinese society. That’s quite an interesting phenomenon: all these idiosyncratic minds in our collectivist culture. This affects everything, including internal and outbound tourism.
Our parents used to book the high paced, all-inclusive and super safe group tours, if they were able to travel abroad at all. But we speak English, we have excellent online (re)search skills, we are ambitious and – most importantly – we have open minds.
So, my friend and I found some excellent hotel deals, booked a very affordable air ticket, looked for the best travel advice on TripAdvisor, Qunar and Qyer, and started our trip in Miami.
We found this great outdoor activity - The River of Grass Adventure – where we looked at an alligator’s uvula. It was both horrific and exciting. From our airboat, we saw some more wildlife and we got the chance to get into the (alligator infested-) water to feel the lemongrass-like water plants tickle our toes. The stories of our local guide, a masterful storyteller, were the icing on the cake.
In Havana, we enjoyed a record-breaking number of different types of transportation: plane, local bus, local taxi, coconut motor, three wheels moped, boat, bicycle and vintage car. Negotiating the prices was a riot, and yes, it cost us a fortune. We smoked Cohiba cigars and our lungs will never be the same again. Our Airbnb host advised us on the most wonderful local cuisine and told us about actual life in Cuba. It was mesmerizing. At the end of our stay, he even treated us to a bottle of authentic local rum, the very best I have ever tasted. It will make the rum of your favorite brands taste like battery acid.
We loved every single moment of our highly personal, individual and unique travel experience.
We are indeed different from our parents' generation. We are the millennials. We have dreams and we will realize them. We want to see the world. And we will.
See you soon.
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