Travel survey: Japan rules for food, China the least friendliest for travelers

Travel survey: Japan rules for food, China the least friendliest for travelers

An exclusive Travelzoo poll reveals what Asian-based travelers love and hate
Hong Kong. Best for shopping for a lot of survey respondents. Not the most friendly place though, according to the Travelzoo poll.

Japan is the best food destination for travelers while Africa has the worst reputation for food, according to results from a Travelzoo survey.

The survey also found that Japan was picked as the friendliest for travelers (31.7 percent) while China was the least friendly.

Travelers from China were the highest spending when abroad with Hong Kong picked as the preferred shopping destination.

The results come from a Travelzoo poll 3,200 people in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Australia. Respondents were asked a variety of questions relating to food/dining, culture, shopping and other topics to gather insight into travel experiences and desires.

Scroll down through the highlights below, then add your two cents’ worth in the comments. We’d love to hear your own take.


Japan regularly polls well in relation to preferred food destinations.

Asia was the preferred dining destination amongst those surveyed with almost 48.2 percent of all respondents ranking Japan as the best food destination. Taiwan (34.1 percent) and Hong Kong (30.9 percent) were second and third, while Thailand (28.8 percent) and Italy (23.9 percent) rounded up the top five. 

Interestingly, Hong Kong respondents were the only group that did not rate their home as the best food destination.

More on CNN: World's 50 most delicious foods

Food also seemed to play a major role in travel for Japanese respondents. About 40 percent deemed food as the most crucial factor when making travel decisions.

Africa (23.8 percent) had the least attractive food scene for travelers from Asia-Pacific -- perhaps showing more work is needed to highlight the variety and quality of African cuisine. The United Kingdom was close behind with 22.4 percent, followed by the United States (17.2 percent).

In possibly another key point for tourism officials looking to capitalize at a growing number of Chinese travelers, around 45 percent of the respondents from China said they “always” seek Chinese food when traveling.

Australians came across as the most cautious about local street food -- almost 15 percent said they are afraid of local street food -- and interestingly enough they indicated more experience of food poisoning compared to their Asian counterparts.

More than half of the Australian respondents said they have experienced food-related illness at least a few times while traveling.


Hong Kong was the preferred shopping destination for Chinese tourists.Hong Kong was crowned the best shopping destination, eliciting 38.2 percent of all respondents.

Japan was next best with 34.7 percent, and the United States (33.4 percent) was third.

Hong Kongers also liked to pack their bags with souvenirs, indicating they purchase, on average, almost 10 souvenirs from each trip.

However, Chinese travelers were the real big-spenders, with respondents indicating an average shopping spend of about RMB5,500 (US$870) per trip.

Travelers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China tended to buy local specialty foods. Japanese were more likely to get souvenirs and Australians preferred shopping for clothes.


They may not get many helping hands.Probably the most contentious part of the survey asked respondents to choose three countries they rated as most friendly and three that were least friendly for travelers.

Japan (with 31.7 percent of all people responded) was deemed the most friendly, closely followed by Taiwan and Thailand. However, both Australian and Taiwan respondents were rather patriotic picking their homes as the most friendly. Interestingly, Hong Kongers (with 7.8 percent) barely rated Hong Kong for friendliness.

On the other end of the scale, China proved to be the least friendly with almost 33.9 percent of respondents. About 20 percent voted for France and Korea was next with 16.9 percent. Respondents from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong all had China at the top of their least friendly list.

The survey did not probe further into what may have brought on that response (e.g., language difficulties or ease of access for travelers) but current geo-political issues may be behind the data.

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About Travelzoo:

Travelzoo employs more than 250 experts globally who apply a rigorous selection and approval process to ensure only the best travel deals of true value are accepted. The highest-quality deals are then published on its renowned Top 20, Newsflash and Local Deals. With more than 3.5 million loyal subscribers in Asia-Pacific, Travelzoo’s online publications serve readers in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.