Chinese tourism spend ranks first world-wide

Chinese nowadays travel on average to 2,1 countries or regions each year per person. In 2017, around 40 % travelled to Europe.

According to China National Tourism Administration, Chinese tourists traveled overseas on 131 million occasions in 2017, an increase of 7.0% from the previous year. Data from the International Association of Tour Managers shows that overseas travel spending by Chinese tourists reached USD 261,1 billion in 2016, an increase of 4,5% year-on-year and ranking first world-wide.

This and other key findings from a report by the market research company Nielsen, Outbound Chinese Tourism and Consumption Trends, show that the experience is far more important than cost for Chinese when considering travel destinations and tourist attractions.

Chinese tourists tend to spend 57 % more on shopping than non-Chinese. Chinese tourists spent an average of USD 762 per person towards shopping on their most recent overseas trip in 2017, while non-Chinese tourists averaged USD 486.

Apart from shopping as the top category with 25% of the total expenditure during a trip, 19% of expenses are hotel accommodations and 16% dining.

The ability to use mobile payment platforms during overseas travel impacts purchase decisions and the perception of how attractive and convenient a location is. 65% of Chinese tourists used mobile payment platforms during overseas travels. Shopping is where Chinese tourists use mobile payments the most. 63% of the Chinese respondents in the Nielsen survey said they have used mobile payments for shopping, and 76% hoped that they could use mobile payment for shopping during their overseas travels in the future. Most importantly, 91% of the respondents said they would show greater willingness to spend and shop if overseas merchants accept Chinese mobile payment brands.

The Nielsen report notes that while 70% of non-Chinese tourists choose to travel independently, 49% of Chinese tourists prefer independent travel and 42% prefer semi-packaged travel and 34%  prefer packaged travel.

Experience is the foremost priority for Chinese tourists. Price is not a decisive factor when choosing travel destinations or tourist attractions. A top-ranking preference is natural scenic attractions, compared to non-Chinese tourists who prefer historical landmarks and museums.  The overall factors the Chinese tourists consider when choosing their overseas travel destination of course vary depending on age group.

Factors Chinese tourists consider when choosing an overseas travel destination (top 5):

·         Beauty and uniqueness of tourist attractions (56%)

·         Safety (47%)

·         Ease of visa procedures (45%)

·         Friendliness of locals to tourists (35%)

·         Affordability (34%)

Chinese tourists travel overseas mainly for leisure, such as dining and shopping, with 78% choosing leisure as their top priority. The post-90s generation is the most adventurous group, with 16% choosing adventure as the theme of their travel. The post-80s respondents are focused on “food” (58%) and “shopping” (49%), while the post-70s prefer a relaxing travel experience, with leisure as their primary goal when traveling overseas (82%).

In terms of average total annual spending, outbound Chinese tourism consumption has risen steadily. In terms of average total annual spending, in 2017 outbound Chinese tourists averaged USD 5,565 per person, with estimates for 2018 average spending expected to reach USD 5,715 – a growth of 3% year-on-year.