WATCH: Chinese Tourists, Explained

China has the most outbound tourists in the world — with perhaps the world’s worst reputation. But why?

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5:06 AM HKT, Sat May 20, 2023

Chinese tourists have a bad reputation around the world, often being criticized for being ‘rude’, ‘noisy’, or generally lacking social etiquette. But why?

The stereotype can be traced to the ‘group tour’ style of travel which has been popular with Chinese travelers.

Even among Chinese people, these groups are often the subject of ridicule. A popular phrase to describe this type of traveling is “shang che shuijiao, xia che pai zhao” (or “get on the bus to sleep, get off the bus to take pictures”), mocking the monotonous nature of the experience.

Because of this, younger Chinese travelers are opting to rewrite the playbook, with ‘DIY travel’ and ‘freestyle travel’ becoming popular in recent years. Today, more travelers are choosing to pick their own activities, and move at their own pace.

So why did group tours become popular in the first place, and do they still have a place in China's tourism industry?

This time around, RADII staff explore the historical factors that led to the popularity of the group tour, the controversies that surround it, and the changing face of Chinese tourism today.

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