Travel Motivations and Behaviours of Mainland Chinese Students in New Zealand

Lin, Mao-Tang
Liu, Claire
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Master of International Tourism Management
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Auckland University of Technology

Due to the growth in numbers of international students studying abroad, the international education market has gradually increased globally. In New Zealand, international student tourism is the fourth largest export and makes a significant impact on the tourism industry. Chinese international students constitute the largest international student market in New Zealand, and this market seems set to continually increase in the future. In spite of the economic effects of Chinese student, not many studies have targeted Chinese students travelling in New Zealand. Moreover, no research has followed push and pull theory as a category to analyse Chinese students’ motivations and understanding of their travel behaviour is not comprehensive. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate mainland Chinese international students’ push and pull motivation and behaviour towards travelling in New Zealand. More importantly, respondents’ characteristics are analysed to discover their travel motivations and behaviours to understand Chinese students’ travel.

This study adopted a quantitative approach to identify the travel motivations and behaviours of Chinese international students in New Zealand, and a self-administered questionnaire survey was selected as a research instrument. A total of 267 valid questionnaires are used for data analysis. The research findings reveal that the main push factors motivating Chinese international students are “Human relationship and entertainment” and “Escape and relaxation”. Conversely, the core pull factors are "Accessibility" and “Hospitality”. The research also discovers that several motivation factors can vary according to demographic characteristics. For instance, older Chinese students (31 to 40) are more likely to learn new things and seek nature and local culture than younger ones (18 to 24). In terms of travel behaviour, most Chinese students prefer to travel with friends and family, travel for a short period of time, obtain travel information from the Internet, travel by individual vehicle and public transport, and choose a hotel. As with travel motivations, travel behaviours can also vary according to respondents’ characteristics. Chinese students with lower monthly expenditure are more likely to go for a short trip, and those aged above 40 tend to join a package tour with a tour guide. This research offers valuable insight into the New Zealand tourism market associated with the Chinese international university students, which can help tourism stakeholders to develop specific packages and services to cater to the market.

Chinese students , New Zealand , Travel motivation , Travel behaviour , Push and pull theory , Quantitative method
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