Gen Zers flock together to establish new travel trend in China
Published: May 08, 2024 10:22 PM
Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

Generation Z in China is setting a new trend by boldly transforming tourism into a social game and choosing to seek adventure with their peers rather than with their family. As with any new trend, business opportunities have emerged.

An example of this new trend has been the May Day holiday break, a period in which a significant number of Gen Zers chose to join groups of peers to travel. This trend has notably influenced the national tourism sector, leading experts to say that this new approach to travel may be the beginning of a new emerging market. 

Disenchanted with the traditional group travel model - get on a bus, take a nap on the way to the destination, get off the bus and snap some pictures - Gen Zers prefer enjoying a more personalized travel experience with people their own age. 

Gen Z is redefining travel as a social opportunity to make friends and spend time with individuals that share the same hobbies and interests.

This new travel modality is poised to benefit the tourism industry by pushing market players to come up with innovative business models and offer more high-quality products and services.

For example, some travel agencies have launched personalized travel routes that offer a professional photography service and even aerial photography. This kind of targeted service is slowly becoming the new norm for group travel.

Given our society's fast pace of life, young people are eager to establish real-life communication channels and group travel provides an ideal environment to unwind and socialize with peers who share similar values. 

Gen Z is voicing their own demands in their own unique way, catalyzing change in the tourism industry. 

On Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of X, formerly known as Twitter, Gen Zers are developing their own criteria to assess their experience in group travel: They want to make sure everyone in the group enjoys their dining experience, has fun, is satisfied with the accommodation provided and is left with a photographic memento by the end of the trip. 

To ensure the success of Gen Z's travels, agencies have come up with loyalty programs such as score cards and reward systems to retain clients and secure returning customers.

One of these schemes encourages travelers to provide feedback on their experience and only when every participant in a group has expressed satisfaction with their trip can the organizers obtain full marks. 

A notable characteristic of this new travel trend is that Gen Zers are quite picky about prices, group sizes and trip duration, preferring cost-effective, one-stop trips or one-day journeys to long excursions involving a large number of participants. Young people indeed realized that a group of 30 or 40 people often leads to a considerable waste of time, as people in front need to wait for those lagging behind throughout the trip.  

In conclusion, to better cater to Gen Z's new trend, travel agencies will need to tweak their prices, aiming at cheaper and shorter theme-oriented travel for smaller groups.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.