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‘Global Phenomenon’ of the Chinese Travel Market

“It is a ‘boom time’ for China’s outbound market” was the message at the World Travel Market (WTM) Vision Conference – Shanghai, on May 8. Research from Euromonitor International shows outbound expenditure has reached a record level of US$120 billion, and predictions for the coming five years reveal bumper growth rates.

“Hong Kong and Macau are beneficiaries of this outbound buoyancy, but the highest growth rates are seen further afield. Looking at the compound annual growth rates (CAGR) to outbound destinations for Chinese travelers, Thailand tops the table with CAGR of more than twenty-five percent from 2013 to 2018,” said Fangting Sun, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International. Her presentation also showed that China suffers from weak inbound demand. “China's inbound market witnessed a decline in arrivals of four percent in 2013, but arrivals are predicted to show a recovery in 2014.”

International chains focus their expansions on China, but oversupply concerns remain—and occupancy at luxury hotels has fallen because of the economic slowdown and anti-corruption policies. China’s online travel market also shows “dynamic” growth, according to the report, with more than six hundred million Chinese able to access the Internet. This is forecast to reach more than eight hundred million by 2018, and online travel retailers are launching promotions to gain market share.

The report outlines research about how Chinese consumers research travel, with recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues the most popular source (cited by more than 70% of respondents). Travel websites such as TripAdvisor are second (62%); Internet searches are third (58%); and travel agents come fourth (53%), ahead of social media (35%).

Sun’s presentation also covered the latest research about worldwide travel and tourism trends. Global tourism remains vibrant, with record numbers in 2013 and strong growth predicted for sectors such as cruises and budget airlines. Many new travellers come from emerging markets, and Chinese outbound tourists in particular are being wooed by destinations around the world.

Organized in association with China Business Network, WTM Vision – Shanghai is the fifth in a series of six WTM Vision Conferences taking place across the globe in 2014. The WTM Vision Conference Series started in Moscow before moving to Sao Paulo, Cape Town, and Dubai. The series concludes in Rimini on October 9.


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