Chinese tourists have become a cornerstone of the luxury end of tourism sectors in other countries, according to a survey by AC Nielsen and Asia Pacific Travel Association. The survey showed that 37% of travelers from China’s top three cities – Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou – chose to stay in four-star hotels when overseas, while 10% favored five-star hotels, the Oriental Morning Post reported. The survey found that leisure and business travelers from the three cities spent an average of US$2,923 per trip per person, including air tickets and accommodation. Travelers to Europe were the biggest spenders, with an average price tag of US$5,253 per trip per person. Travellers to Asia spent US$1,904 on average. The behavior of Chinese tourists is becoming increasingly complicated and the industry should carefully study the changes in their preferences and perceptions, AC Nielsen said. China exported 34 million tourists in 2006, almost triple the figure in 2001, surpassing Japan as Asia’s largest tourist source country.

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