Chinese tourism continues to surge

In the Economist´s special report on China in the World, published 19th May 2018, it is made clear that Chinese people travelling abroad are changing the world. Chinese travelers have become the mainstay of the world´s tourism industry. Over 130 million Chinese travel abroad yearly. This figure will increase to 200 million by 2020.

According to Global Blue, a tax-free-shopping firm, Chinese visitors bought >25% of all tax-free products sold in the UK in 2017. To make life easier for Chinese shoppers, the outlet shopping town of Bicester in England has introduced facilities to pay through wechat, a Chinese social media and payments platform. Chinese travelers abroad often grumble about other countries´ backwardness in electronic payment. Chinese big cities today are almost cashless.

Economically, there is no doubt that the surging numbers of Chinese travelers abroad are changing the world. Most conspicuously, they are becoming the main props of luxury brands. McKinsey,  a consultancy, says Chinese people account for one-third of global spending on luxury goods.

Even when prices are similar to home, nearly a third of Chinese shoppers still prefer to buy luxury items abroad. The Economist also reports that according to the UN World Tourism Organisation, in 2016 they spent a total or more than 260 billion USD, more than double the amount forked out by Americans abroad and about 20 percent of all global spending by international tourists.

And, Chinese travelers are increasingly interested in buying not goods but luxury experiences or costly adventures off the beaten track. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Antarctica, for example, is now second only to those from America.

This is just the beginning says the Economist. Less than 10 percent of Chinese currently hold passports, compared with more than 40% of Americans in 2017. By the end of the decade (2020), the number of passport holders in China is expected to double to 240 million, according to predictions by Ctrip, a Chinese travel company.

So hello Sweden – How are we ramping up to attract Chinese travellers?