The tourism industry in China has been in unprecedented development thanks to stable economic growth. In 2018, 5.54 billion tourists traveled across China, a 10.8% increase from the previous year, according to Travel Weekly China. International travel has also recorded a double-digit growth with nearly 150 million outbound trips. Last month, China Tourism Academy published its annual China Outbound Tourism Development Report 2019 (“the Report”), summarizing overall market trends and consumer preferences in outbound tourism of 2018. Here are some of the key points of the Report.
Potential in Outbound Tourism Market
China remained the world’s biggest market in outbound tourism. In 2018, 71.3 million Chinese residents completed nearly 150 million trips. Even though the 70+ million number seems astonishing, only less than 5 in 100 Chinese residents traveled overseas in 2018, considering the total Chinese populations of 1.4 billion.
The barriers for traveling across the border has significantly lowered in recent years. It is easier and more convenient to obtain tourist visas, and international travel destinations, especially in other Asian countries, has become increasingly affordable for many families in China. However, there is still a huge potential in growing the outbound tourist market in China.
Not only was the number of outbound trips climbing, but the total spending had also increased as well. Last year, Chinese tourists spent more than 130 billion USD overseas, and it is projected that the spending will continue to increase in the following years.
Top Cities with the Most Outbound Travelers
The Report collected data from popular Chinese online travel reservation apps and surveyed travel agencies on the number of outbound travelers in major cities in different regions of China. All Tier 1 cities, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, made to the top 20 cities with the most outbound travelers in 2018. On the list, there are some other top-tier cities and top-tier-cities-to-be, including Chengdu, Chongqing, Nanjing, Kunming, Hefei and Xi’an.
The Report also published a list of the cities with the fastest-growing percentage of outbound travelers: Zunyi, Guiyang, Nanchang, Kunming, Chongqing, Yiwu, Ji’nan, Zhengzhou, Nanning and Taiyuan. These cities will be the next battleground for online travel agencies.
The most popular destinations are still among Asian countries because of their proximity and affordability, In 2018, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia lead the most visited countries list, followed by the United States and a few other Asian and European countries.
Women traveled overseas more often than men did in 2018, according to reservation data collected by Ctrip, an online travel reservations provider based in China.
People in their 30s are the main force, accounting for 29% of the total traveled population. Younger generations born in the 1990s and 2000s went on spontaneous trips more often and preferred customizing their trips, whereas family travelers and senior travelers mostly went on group travel tours.
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