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Home > Knowledge Centre > The Outbound Tourism Market in China

The Outbound Tourism Market in China

By eusme | Report      05.02.2019     Tags: Leisure and recreation

Outbound tourism from China has grown significantly over the past 15 years. In 2017, 61.13 million Chinese travelled outside the Greater China region (excluding Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau), a 10.6% growth from the 55.28 million travelling outside this region in 2016. Between 2016 and 2017, the total number of outbound trips organised for Chinese tourists by travel agents outside the Greater China region rose to 44.98 million – a 39.2% increase from 32.31 million in 2015.

China continued to hold its position as the world’s highest spender on international travel from 2016 to 2017, a position the country has held since 2012. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts that China will be one of the 10 fastest growing markets for leisure travel spending through to 2026. However, in comparison to previous years, Chinese consumers tend to seek in-depth travel experiences which include local cultural and recreational activities and are spending less time on shopping during outbound trips.

Despite the continuing growth of the outbound tourism market, China’s travel industry remains highly regulated by the government. No foreign travel agency based in China is allowed to operate outbound travel services for Chinese nationals. This limitation was eased to a certain extent when “outbound” licenses were granted to CITS American Express Business Travel, JTB New Century International Tours Co Ltd, and TUI China Travel Co Ltd in 2011 and one joint venture, Mediterranean Travel Agency Co Ltd, in Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in 2014. A trend towards greater opening up of the outbound tourism market in the development of new FTZs is also a promising sign.

While Europe continues to be the second most visited destination by Chinese outbound travellers in 2016, the market is witnessing increased internal competition between conventional popular destinations, such as France, Italy, and the UK, and emerging new destinations such as Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic when it comes to attracting Chinese tourists.

EU SMEs can benefit from the diversifying interests and demands of Chinese tourists coming to Europe. Companies can seek partnerships with Chinese outbound agencies to understand, reach, and influence Chinese travellers, or offer customised services and packages catering to different groups of Chinese tourists. It is also helpful to deploy social media marketing strategies to directly interact with Chinese audiences. There are also opportunities for EU SMEs in growing niche tourist markets, such as high-end luxury tourism, adventure tourism, and the self-drive market – through which tourists rent and drive vehicles to explore holiday destinations.

Key Content
• Introduction
• Policy Indicators and Regulatory Structure
    o The Ministry of Culture and Tourism
    o Potential Opportunities in Free Trade Zones
    o Express Visa Procedures
• Overview of Chinese Outbound Tourism
    o Outbound Tourism and Travel
    o Online Outbound Tourism Market
    o Major Travel Agencies in China
• Chinese Outbound Tourists Profile
    o Demographics
    o Behaviour and Habits
    o Interests and Preferences
    o High Net-worth Travellers
• Market Segmentation
    o Medical Travel
    o Educational Travel
• Outlook and Forecast
    o Growth Potential for China Outbound Tourism
    o Chinese Outbound Tourism to Europe Trends
• Opportunities and Challenges
    o Opportunities in Diversifying Niche Markets
    o Challenges
• Practical Advice
    o How to Better Attract Chinese Tourists
    o How to Improve the Experience of Chinese Tourists
• Case Studies
    o Travel with Popular Dramas/Movies
    o Innovative Marketing
• Annexes

This report was published during the EU SME Centre in China Phase II (2014-2020), which was funded by the European Union (ICI+/2014/346-276).

The report was drafted in collaboration with external creators, who worked under service agreements with the Consortium running the EU SME Centre Phase II. The copyrights and intellectual property of this publication belong to the Consortium partner China-Britain Business Council. The latter was authorised by and acted on behalf of the Consortium running EU SME Centre in China Phase II. The China-Britain Business Council, which is currently part of the Consortium running the EU SME Centre in China Phase III, has granted the rights of use of this report to the current Consortium. The report is therefore re-published and made available during the EU SME Centre Phase III.

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