Chinese Tourism – How Might it Impact Your Business?

The Chinese are going places, literally! Just consider that in 2017, Chinese tourists numbered 143.04 million and they spent $257.7 billion on international travel. Moreover, these statistics represent a mere 10.7 percent of the overall Chinese population. These numbers make it pretty clear that Chinese tourism is having a big impact on the travel industry and businesses worldwide that cater to foreign tourists.

Why Is Chinese Tourism Increasing?

Forty years after the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping instituted a “reform and opening up” policy, China has been transformed into an economic superpower. Here are a just a few eye-popping statistics:

  • Between 1980 and 2017, the Chinese economy expanded from $305 billion to $12.7 trillion.
  • China now has more dollar billionaires than any other country.
  • China is now the world’s biggest exporter. Chinese goods and services added up to $2.49 trillion in 2017.

All of this means that the average Chinese citizen now has more money in their pocket than ever before. Middle-class income continues to  rise and restrictions on travel aren’t as stringent as they used to be.

Where Are Chinese Tourists Going?

Though package tours are the preferred choice, Chinese tourists are branching out and developing a taste for “sophistication” and “excitement.” There has also been some growth in the area of personalized travel experiences. As might be expected, neighboring countries are at the top of the list for Chinese travelers – Japan, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam. Beyond Asia, Italy and the U.S. and are very popular destinations.

The biggest complaint being that these nations treat Chinese tourists as a non-diverse group.

What Does Chinese Tourism Mean for the Travel Industry?

As more and more Chinese people begin to travel, the international travel industry will have to come up with ideas to make them feel welcome. For instance, some destinations have already made it easier for Chinese tourists to qualify for a visa; others have even gone so far as to waive the need for a visa. Thailand has worked with the Chinese embassy to develop signboards and instruction boards that make things easier for Chinese tourists. Countries as diverse as Brazil and Zimbabwe are heavily investing in their tourism industry, with a focus on bringing in more Chinese tourists.

The Chinese Are Big Spenders

With Chinese travel tastes becoming more oriented towards experiences, shopping isn’t driving the tourism sector like it used to. There is also the fact that Chinese tourists have to undergo stringent customs checks when they arrive back in their home country. Moreover, cross-border e-commerce has made foreign goods far more accessible in China. However, luxury, cosmetics, and gaming are some of the sectors still benefiting from Chinese travelers.

Final Thoughts

Because of their spending power, Chinese tourists have a great impact on certain domestic markets. Even more interestingly, they tend to travel when the rest of the world isn’t on holiday, which is great for businesses outside of China. Businesses need to make a note of this and start prepping to cater to the Chinese traveler/customer.

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