ForwardKeys: Chinese arrivals in EU continue to rise

Increase confirms success of EU-China Tourism Year

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Data provider ForwardKeys has reported European travel is on the rise despite the slow-down in the Chinese economy and concerns about Brexit.

Chinese tourists continue to put Europe at the top of their favourite destinations even with the relative slow-down in the economy and concerns regarding Brexit, according to the latest figures from the European Travel Commission (ETC) in collaboration with ForwardKeys.

The latest figures show that the EU-China Tourism Year 2018, designed to promote the EU as a tourism destination to the rapidly-growing Chinese market, continues to deliver success. The data shows there was a 5.1% year-on-year increase in Chinese arrivals in EU destinations during January-December 2018.

Olivier Jager, CEO, ForwardKeys, commented: “Our findings confirm what a concerted effort to boost tourism can achieve. It also appears to have lasting effects, as we can see in the forward booking figures.”

“The growth in Chinese travellers has been solid”

Eduardo Santander, executive director at ETC, added: “The 2018 EU-China Tourism Year initiative has been extremely successful. And we continue to see the benefits in 2019. The growth in Chinese travellers has been solid, and the near future, judging by current bookings, will see the EU continuing to increase its share of this valuable market, not just to traditional destinations, but lesser-known and emerging ones as well.”

Chinese arrivals - ForwardKeys

In 2018, the top three EU destinations in terms of volume of Chinese arrivals were the UK (up 2.4%), Germany (up 2.6%) and France (up 7.7%). The three most growing destinations were Croatia (up 45.7%), Estonia (up 35.8%) and Hungary (up 25.1%).

Forward bookings also look robust. As of 31 December 2018, Chinese bookings to the EU for the first four months of 2019 are 16.9% ahead of where they were at the end of 2017. This compares very favourably to the global trend, which is 9.3% ahead.

In the context of Brexit, it is interesting to note that if the UK were excluded from the data, the performance of the EU would look even stronger, with arrivals in the whole of 2018 up 5.8%, as opposed to up 5.1% with the UK included. Similarly, looking ahead, forward bookings are 17.7% ahead for the period January-April 2019, as opposed to 16.9% with the UK included.

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