The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page. Augustine Whether traveling alone, with family or friends, on a girl-getaway or with a love -- just go! Here we offer solo travel trends, great destinations, interviews, and smart deals and ideas. As Mark Twain a sometimes solo traveler observed, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.
Joseph Luk on January 1, The rapidly expanding tourism sector poses opportunities for innovation and product differentiation as more Chinese travel at home and abroad. The World Tourism and Trade Council estimates that China in surpassed Japan to become the second-largest travel and tourism market in the world in terms of contribution to gross domestic product.
It is also a highly regulated sector and a challenging one for foreign players. Few domestic or foreign companies understand the needs of Chinese travelers, 95 percent of whom claim they are poorly served on both the domestic and international fronts.
In a recent survey, the Boston Consulting Group BCG found that the rapidly rising demand for travel in China, together with the lack of offerings for Chinese tourists within China and abroad, present a rare opportunity for travel-related companies to gain a first-mover advantage.
This advantage can be enormously valuable in a market where consumers are desperate for brands that meet their needs. Travel providers who are equipped with insight into targeted segments could develop differentiated products for affluent travelers as well as for the burgeoning segment of middle-class tourists emerging throughout China.
Demand for travel services In another BCG survey of more than 4, consumers in seven countries, only about one-quarter of US and European respondents said that they planned to trade up—to increase spending in a particular category or service—on vacations, whereas more than one-third of Chinese intended to do so.
Indeed, vacations were the highest-rated category for trading up among Chinese respondents, compared to other categories such as food and beverages and personal care. Travel and lodging companies should prepare for a big change in China.
BCG expects the market value of leisure trips to more than quadruple by and the demand for domestic accommodations—for business and leisure travelers—to double.
Business travel accounts for fewer trips, but spending per trip is higher. BCG estimates that business travel within China will remain stable at about 10 percent annual growth over the next decade.
The overnight leisure market will likely surpass that of the business segment, accounting for nearly half the market for domestic travel by Compared with the already significant domestic travel market, the Chinese market for international travel is still young.
According to BCG, Chinese international travel will likely increase by 17 percent per year between anddriven by rising incomes and aspirations. Chinese international travel will become a major source of growth for travel providers in destination countries.
The Chinese traveler Chinese travelers differ from their Western counterparts in ways that are significant for the companies that serve them.
For instance, demand for travel in China comes mostly from active younger people eager to visit new places, whereas demand in the West is driven by senior citizens, who tend to have more time and money for travel.
First-time travelers According to BCG, fewer than million urban Chinese consumers today have taken an overnight leisure trip. With an average of 25 million Chinese taking their first overnight leisure trip every year, however, that number will at least double by Middle-class and affluent consumers are spearheading this explosion in travel.
Over the next decade, this population will increase from million to more than million travelers, and two-thirds of these people will come from smaller cities, where disposable incomes are projected to rise rapidly.
Longer trips and larger groups Whether traveling domestically or overseas, Chinese travelers are more likely to take longer trips than Westerners and tend to travel with large groups of friends.
In addition, 26 percent of Chinese travel with more than five people, whereas only 13 percent of US travelers do so. Of the Chinese who travel in groups, nearly half said that they travel with friends rather than family members. Only 12 percent of US group travelers made that claim. The Chinese propensity for longer trips may partly be a result of holidays that occur consecutively.
But because the PRC government in shortened the one-week Labor Day holiday to one day and added three traditional Chinese holidays to other months, the holiday schedule may become less of a factor. The preference for traveling in large groups reflects the age of the market—most Chinese travelers are under 40—as young people prefer to travel with friends, and even with parents and children.
Short planning cycle Many Chinese also take less time to plan a trip. Thirty-nine percent of US travelers said they started planning more than three months ahead for their last domestic leisure trip of five or more days.
Only four percent of Chinese travelers begin that early. Of course, the larger the travel group, the more difficult it is to coordinate schedules months ahead of time. But the Chinese also love a good deal, and travel agents often do not announce bargains until one or two months before the departure date.
Yet another factor may be force of habit. Finally, it is still somewhat frowned upon in China for employees to tell their bosses six months in advance that they plan to take a vacation.
Travel planning China already has nearly million Internet users, so it is not surprising that Chinese travelers are embracing do-it-yourself travel arrangements for domestic leisure trips.The last thing that a family going on vacation wants to think of is being victims of crime.
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