by WEX Travel
The numbers continue to impress – Chinese outbound tourism has seen double-digit annual growth since 2004, with 135 million travelers and $261 billion spent in 2016. And Chinese outbound tourism is expected to continue to grow. A recent Mastercard report predicts 8.5% annual growth until 2021, when China will represent 40% of all Asia Pacific outbound travel.
More online booking & it’s mobile
After more than a decade of considerable growth, what’s changing with China’s outbound market? Like many other travelers, they’re doing more booking online — at a remarkable rate. Chinese online travel agency Tuniu booked travel for 252% more Chinese tourists in 2015 than in 2014.
While the majority of online bookings across the globe are done on desktops, China Travel News reports mobile accounts for more than half of China’s bookings. By comparison, less than a third of UK and US bookings come from mobile devices.
Not about group shopping tours anymore
Another aspect of the Chinese tourism market that appears to be evolving is that group tours focused on shopping are being replaced with individual trips focused on experiences. The China Business Network finds that 60% of Chinese outbound tourism is now individual trips. 56% of travelers are female, and nearly 50% are between 35-50 years old.
In a post last year, Daxue Consulting noted that while Chinese seniors are more likely to stick with Western locations, Chinese millennials are attracted to a broad range of destinations. They’ve already visited 13 countries, on average, and made 3.3 leisure trips in the past 12 months.
An increasing number of Chinese tourists desire travel that allows them to act like a local. In a China Daily post, Alastair Morrison, past president of the International Tourism Studies Association, said, “It is important to avoid stereotypes, because the outbound Chinese market is becoming more sophisticated, more mature and more segmented.”
This maturing Chinese outbound tourism market holds great appeal for the travel industry, whether you’re tapping into the experience travel trend or amping up mobile capabilities. This massive market is an attractive one, and it presents vast opportunities for those who get to know the evolving Chinese traveler.