China ready to become the First Outbound Tourism Market

China ready to become the First Outbound Tourism Market

China is about to become the First Outbound Tourism Market in the world, surpassing the United States, the First Tourism Market in the world by 2017, and reach 20% of the global market by 2023, according to a recent report published by Oxford Economics Office for Amadeus. This is not surprising when considering the economic growth, increasing standards of living, and size of China’s population (1.357 billion inhabitants in 2013, so one-sixth of the global population).

A few figures about Chinese tourist

Chinese tourists

The figures from China Tourism Administration are very impressive:

  • The number of Chinese tourists travelling abroad grew from 10 to 83 million within only 10 years.
  • They were only 12 million in 2001 and 78 million in 2012.
  • In 2012, China’s expenses on foreign travel reached 81 billion euros: thus, China has reached first place in the global outbound tourism market in terms of expenses.
  • In 2013, no less than 97 million Chinese people traveled abroad.
  • In 2014, the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad is expected to reach more than 100 million, making China becoming the first outbound tourism market in terms of travelers.
  • According to estimates, this number will continue to increase by 10% every year on average until 2020.

Chinese tourists are big spenders

shopping Chinese tourists

Chinese tourists are known to be big spenders when they travel abroad: this is a windfall for many countries. They spend a lot of money on shopping, for themselves or to bring back very expensive gifts to their family. Chinese tourists are actually the biggest spenders among the world’s tourist clientele. According to estimates, 166 million of Chinese tourists will spend 155 billion dollars abroad in 2014.

Europe (and especially France) is the destination where Chinese tourists spend the most money. A few figures:

  • In France, for a one-week stay, Chinese tourists will spend on average 1000 € for all the expenses relating to their stay (accommodation, food, visits) and 1500€ only for shopping.
  •  In 2012, Chinese tourists spent on average 173 € per day and per person (for accommodation, food, leisure, activities, shopping and transport) in Paris.
  •  In Europe, 60% of Chinese tourists’ budget is dedicated to shopping
  • By 2030, their expenses are expected to grow from 260 to 1800 billion dollars.

New desires, new expectations

Chinese tourists

Until now, the Chinese used to travel in groups with the aim of visiting as many cities and tourist sites as possible. Today, mentalities are changing: more and more Chinese people prefer traveling alone, with their friends or family, they are looking for fulfilling experiences and new adventures. They show more interest in the culture of the country they visit and the local cuisine. Their favorite destinations are also changing. Yesterday, France was their favorite one, today, it is New Zealand, which destination will win this title tomorrow? Competition is very tough.

China’s ambition: becoming the First Inbound Tourism Market

Chinese tourists

China also wants to develop its inbound tourism by attracting more Chinese visitors but also tourists from all over the world. The ambition of China’s government: make China the world’s leader in tourism in terms of turnover. However, the country faces many difficulties:  the level of satisfaction of Chinese tourists in their own country is falling down because they suffer from smog and crowd at any place. Thus, they are more and more numerous to choose foreign destinations when they are on holiday.


Chinese tourists represent THE promising tourist clientele of today and tomorrow. The sign of a new distribution of wealth in the world in the 21st century? In any case, the potential is huge for tourism professionals and for the economy of their host countries.

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