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Shopping no longer top priority for Chinese

By BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-08-08 17:05

Wang Yunxia is among the hordes of visitors who come to Britain with London-a popular shopping destination- the first calling point.

But, according to a recent survey by booking site Hotels. com and Ipsos, shopping is no longer the major reason for international travel among Chinese tourists.

Instead, dining, sightseeing, and exploring the local culture have all become increasingly appealing.

The survey says 68 percent of travelers who responded said they traveled mainly because of shopping in 2016. By 2017, that number had fallen to 33 percent.

"When I travel, I focus on sightseeing," Wang said.

But she admitted language barriers can be a problem, and said she likes to travel with her daughter or another companion because of such challenges.

"I really would like to visit more small towns, especially the countryside, but I don't speak English so I don't know how to get there. If I go with a tour group, it's less free and you have to follow the group all the time."

But while some visitors like the local cuisine, Wang, who is from Suzhou in Jiangsu province, said it's not her cup of tea.

"I am willing to try local food like the bread, pasta, but, to me, it's quite boring and doesn't have its own flavor, unlike Chinese food, as we have numerous ways of cooking," Wang said.

The survey said Chinese travelers are expected to spend more on dining and entertainment in the coming year as they move away from prioritizing shopping.

Guo Jun, who is in her mid-40s and from Zhejiang province, travels to see the sights. And, while she doesn't mind the local food, she chooses to avoid one of its classics.

"I would like to taste more, authentic Western food, except fish and chips, which just doesn't taste good," she said.

Guo is particularly interested in learning about local culture, and loves visiting museums.

"I love the atmosphere in the museums," she said. "There is so much to see in London, as well as other parts of Britain. It's such a shame I haven't been able to visit them all yet."

And, despite the food, Wang said she will keep coming back to the UK.

"I find the people here are really friendly. It has the richest culture, and the architecture is very beautiful. Everything is just so different from China and it's fascinating."

Zhang Yangfei contributed to this story

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