Chinese Tourism Market- A Force to be Reckoned With

Chinese tourists are ready to spend more on their leisure travel this year, according to a recent study by Travelzoo Asia Pacific, while the China Daily/Asia News Network reports that they have already emerged as the top tax-free shoppers in Europe, surpassing the Russians.

Travelzoo Asia Pacific, a division of the global Internet media company Travelzoo Inc. held a survey by interviewing 4,200 Travelzoo subscribers that was conducted over the period of January 4 to January 12, 2011. The survey highlighted that at least eighty percent of mainland Chinese holidaymakers are intending to splurge more on leisure travel this year. The survey also exhibits that 70 percent of Hong Kong residence and 65 percent of the Taiwanese, also responded likewise.

The survey also indicates that mainland Chinese subscribers will expense on average USD 3,780 per person on leisure travel this year, while Hong Kong and Taiwanese holidaymakers will spend on average USD 2, 670 and USD 1, 872, respectively.


The result of the survey also signifies an increasing inclination of the mainland Chinese travelers towards sophisticated travels. Irrespective of the destination, most of the mainlanders showed their inclination towards sightseeing vacations, which topped the list repeatedly, with eco-tourism found as close second option. On the mainland, Tibet was regarded as the ideal eco-tourism destination, surpassing the other popular eco-tourism destinations offered from Canada, New Zealand, Europe and Australia.

The survey also implies the developing trend among the holidaymakers of Greater China to experience interesting yet lavish vacations. The beachfront hotels and spa resorts in particular, providing deluxe facilities are preferred consistently among the top choices. A strong 47 percent of the Hong Kongers put across such viewpoint, followed by 40 percent of the mainlanders with 37 percent of the Taiwanese showing similar preferences.  It has been observed that most of the mainlanders were seeking for harmony of body and mind to fulfill their aesthetic sense while vacationing.

Above all, the survey denotes that the Greater China subscribers of Travelzoo were looking out to explore some new aspects of vacationing. Thus, the fashion of trying exotic local foods and taking active participation in local festivals were spotted as the emerging trends in 2011 among a good half of the travelers surveyed across Greater China.


According to Global Blue, a Switzerland-based, tax-refund and shopping services provider, excluding shopping, the average total cost for each trip for a Chinese tourist stands at 2,000 euros (S$3,502.5). Shopping takes up more than 70 percent of total outbound consumption of Chinese travelers.

On average, outbound travelers from the Chinese mainland spent 744 euros on tax-free shopping transactions last year, doubling the Russian’s 368 euros. Tourists from the United States spent 554 euros and the Japanese 521 euros, according to Global Blue.

China’s outbound tourism has been booming thanks to the appreciation of the yuan and the increasing size of its economy. Tax-free shopping is one of the major incentives for Chinese travelers going abroad.

According to the China Tourism Academy, the number of Chinese outbound tourists is projected to have been 15.42 million in the third quarter of 2010, up 23.5 percent compared with the same period in 2009.

Being aware of the trend to prioritize Chinese customers by European merchants, Sfez said it is important for businesses to know that “Chinese people are not spending machines”.

“They are people. They want information. You cannot schedule a Chinese tourist group like scheduling a train or a flight,” he said. “This is just a different culture. It can be served just like any other: Europeans, Americans or Japanese.”

To cater to the rising number of Chinese travelers, the company brought European merchants to China to meet with local tour operators and get to know the market. In March, Global Blue invited a group of major luxury-brand companies from Italy, France, and the United Kingdom to discover the reality and operation of Chinese market, Sfez said.

Chinese travelers spent the most on fashion, jewelry and watches, and they like to shop at big department stores where more options are available, according to Global Blue.

According to Sfez, many Chinese customers do not know the heritage and history of certain brands. “They prefer brands that are very traditional – brands that everybody knows and sell the most,” he said.

But recently Global Blue has found that Chinese travelers can be highly interested in boutique stores, where the production of high-end luxury goods is limited.

“If merchants want to have a better relationship with Chinese customers, they have to go beyond money. Money will come. But if you establish a solid foundation, it becomes more stable and easier.”

It is not just the level of the brands that matters the most, but also the knowledge of the brands that matter to the consumers, he said.


2 thoughts on “Chinese Tourism Market- A Force to be Reckoned With

  1. This kind of reporting is quite misleading, especially in regard to mainland China.
    CNTA, the national tourism authority of China, and the various bodies under its direction, count Hong Kong and Macau, autonomously administered regions (SAR) within the PRC as outbound destinations, despite being part of the PRC. If you look closely to the statistics, around 70-75% of outbound tourists go to these 2 destinations! Another approximately 3% to Japan, 3% to Korea, 3% to Vietnam, 2% to USA, 2% to Russia, 1& Singapore, 1-2% the other SE Asia Countries and is expected that Taiwan will get this year an equally big part of the cake, another 2-3%. Therefore, with the exception of the USA (due to the networks of Chinese diaspora, Chinese outbound tourism is particularly concentrated in the E Asia region. Don’t expect that European or other destinations will be saved by the hordes of Chinese tourists. The Chinese tourists can act only supplementary, to cover for short-term loses from more traditional “pools” of tourists. For the next 10 years at best they can become the Japanese of the 70s and 80s. Tourism was, is and will always be primarily a regional affair.

    Instead, the most promising prospect from the rise of Chinese outbound Tourism is that a new pool of capitalists are willing to spend their money in Luxury services, and that is exactly were TOs, TAs,national tourism authorities and local businesses should aim.

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