Chinese outbound travelers are unstoppable, no sign of slowing down

Over 18 million mainland Chinese crossed borders to an overseas destination in the last three months. Pic: Marjan Lazarevski/flickr

THE Chinese appetite for travel looks to be stronger than ever, with over 18 million mainland Chinese crossing the borders to overseas destinations in the last three months.

The China Outbound Research Tourism Institute (COTRI) revealed new data that showed that countries other than greater China (Macau and Hong Kong) enjoyed a 16 percent increase in tourism from China, especially South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

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New Zealand, Australia and the US too saw significant growth in Chinese arrivals, counterbalanced by a slowdown in Europe after the spate of terror attacks over the past year.

Because of safety concerns in some parts of Europe, it’s predicted that Chinese tourists will look to alternative destinations such as Italy, eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

However, travels to greater China recorded a downturn of seven percent. According to Wolfgang Georg Arlt, founder and director of COTRI, the slowdown could be due to the reduced number of mainland Chinese from Guangdong visiting Hong Kong.

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Access restrictions for residents of the neighboring city Shenzhen resulted in a year-on-year 37 percent plunge of arrivals from Shenzhen.

Plus, the growing appeal of South Korea and Japan as alternative shopping destinations have accelerated the slowdown of arrivals in Hong Kong.

The slowdown in Macau – following Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign – has also taken a hit in the region’s casino revenues.

Despite overall growth in outbound numbers, the average spending per visitor dropped from about US$1,160 to US$915 in the last couple of years.

In the business travel market, China is the world’s biggest, finishing the end of last year with a whopping US$291.2 billion in travel spend.

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