The Straits Times
Published on Sep 28, 2012

Downturn? Not in 1st class, say China's globetrotting shoppers


SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - Rich Chinese tourists paying US$40,000 (S$50,000) to hunt elk in Utah or booking the entire first-class cabin for a family flight to France show China's economic slowdown has yet to thin the wallets or dull the appetites of its deep-pocketed elite.

China's "Golden Week" holiday, a popular time for overseas travel, starts on Saturday. This year it coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival to create a rare eight-day break, and visitors to Europe will not be there to get a taste of austere living.

Ms Helen Shen, a travel planner in Shanghai, said a private business owner had booked the whole first-class section of a Lufthansa jet to fly his family of four to Paris this month.

Ms Shen is one of many luxury travel organisers who still see the money rolling in from executives and members of the "fu er dai" - the second generation of wealthy families - despite China's economic uncertainty.