South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Taiwan are among the top five favourite destinations for Chinese travellers, which were numbered 109 million in 2015.
According to GfK’s analyses, by the start of November 2015, counting air and overnight visits, the number of Chinese travellers to South Korea showed an increase of 112 per cent since 2011. Thailand experienced an increase of 263 per cent, Japan by 157 per cent and Taiwan 54 per cent.
Hong Kong, which was the preferred destination for China’s outbound tourists up until 2013, saw a 37 per cent increase in the period.
“China’s outbound tourists remain strategic to Hong Kong and its businesses – but other destinations are jumping ahead in winning their favour. Destinations such as Hong Kong need to re-evaluate China’s new breed of young and independently-minded travellers, to understand how best to attract them and capitalize on the growth of China’s outbound tourism,” said Laurens van den Oever, global head of travel and hospitality research at GfK.
Since 2014, increasing numbers of China’s outbound tourists have been opting for other destinations that offer historical and cultural experiences, as well as shopping.
The analyses showed that last year China produced 109 million outbound tourists who spent a total of US$229 billion (approximately Bt8.2 trillion).
These statistics consolidate China’s position as one of the top global sources of tourists, in terms of both number of trips and money spent during international travel. At the same time, there have been profound changes in the behaviour of the typical Chinese traveller, with Chinese Millennials firmly established as the core drivers of China’s outbound tourism spending.
Europe remains the most popular destination for Chinese travelling outside of Asia, showing an increase of 97 per cent in the number of air and overnight visits in the last four years. This is followed by North America (up 151 per cent) and the Middle East (up 177 per cent). Africa remains the destination least visited by Chinese tourists – but with signs that this could be changing, as visits have risen by 306 per cent since 2011.
According to GfK data, half (50 per cent) of China’s outbound travellers are aged 15-29 years old – the “millennials” group – while over a third (37 per cent) are aged 30-44 and 10 per cent are 45-59.
An annual study from GfK shows that Chinese Millennials are more ambitious than their predecessors, aged 50 and above – and more hedonistic in their willingness to spend money to indulge and pamper themselves. They are also slightly less price sensitive, being the biggest purchasers of luxury goods in Asia Pacific.
For destinations looking to attract this lucrative group, then, the ideal approach is to approach them not as ’tourists’ but as independent travellers who will respond to opportunities to plan personalised trips.