This study examines the propensity for long-haul independent travel amongst young Chinese travellers and evaluates the corresponding management implications. The paper reports findings of a survey of 403 potential travellers to Western Europe. Three clusters of visitors were identified based on their service expectations and profiled using their motives and socio-demographics. Unlike previous studies emphasising the homogeneous behaviour of the Chinese outbound market (e.g. packaged tours and group travel), our findings suggest a nascent Chinese independent travel segment that does not conform to Western conceptualisations of the ‘typical’ attitudes and behaviours of such visitors. This may portend the end of backpackers as a discrete group as the outbound Chinese market diversifies and engages Western Europe's independent travel infrastructure in multiple ways. Recommendations are offered for managing expectations, marketing independent travel amenities and facilities and service provision to these visitors.
- Mainland China
- Outbound tourism
- Western Europe
- Service expectations
- Independent/backpacker travel