Chinese overseas tourism spending surges

TD Guest Writer

Guest Writers are not employed, compensated or governed by TD, opinions and statements are from the specific writer directly

Spending by Chinese tourists in international destinations continued to rise sharply in 2016, as the world’s most valuable outbound tourism market further strengthened its position.

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, overseas spending by Chinese tourists increased 12% year-on-year in 2016 to US$261 billion – US$11bn more than 2015. This continues a long-running trend of double-digit growth, which has now been achieved every year since 2004 and saw China become the world’s most valuable outbound tourism market in 2012.

Chinese tourists spent US$261bn on outbound travel in 2016
Chinese tourists spent US$261bn on outbound travel in 2016

The growth in expenditure outpaced a 6% increase in the number of Chinese outbound travellers in 2016, to 135 million.

China wasn’t the only Asia Pacific market to have a strong impact on the world’s destinations; three other regional countries featured in the top 10 outbound markets in 2016: South Korea, Australia (both +8% to US$27bn) and Hong Kong (+5% to US$24bn).

And among the world’s top 50 source markets, Vietnam (+28%), India (+16%) and Thailand (+11%) demonstrated double-digit growth.

The US was the world’s second most valuable outbound market in 2016, while Germany was third, the UK fourth and France fifth. Two major countries – Russia and Brazil – experienced declining tourism expenditure last year.

“The latest data on outbound tourism spending are very encouraging,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai. “Despite the many challenges of recent years, results of spending on travel abroad are consistent with the 4% growth to 1.2bn international tourist arrivals reported earlier this year for 2016.  “People continue to have a strong appetite for travel and this benefits many countries all around the world, translating into economic growth, job creation and opportunities for development,” he added.

Other outbound markets achieving double-digit growth in 2016 included Argentina (+26%), Egypt (+19%), Spain (+17%), Israel (+12%), Ukraine (+12%) and Qatar (+11%).

World’s Highest Spending Outbound Tourism Markets (2016)

1)    China           –    US$261bn
2)    USA             –    US$122bn
3)    Germany    –    US$81bn
4)    UK               –    US$64bn
5)    France         –    US$41bn

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