Europe calling: Surge in number of younger, richer “new-age Chinese travellers”

An analysis of 17 million booking transactions a day, shows that China bookings for Europe are ahead 10.5% this summer. Europe and particularly the UK are popular destinations for travellers from China.

A joint research by ForwardKeys and the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) showed that China outbound bookings for the summer are ahead 13.5%. The demand for customised travel showed a 300% growth in 2017 and this year there are currently more than 120,000 new orders a month, representing a market share of almost 15%.

More adventurous and wealthy Chinese tourists are eschewing regular package deals and demanding customised tours that include exclusive visits to film locations, Michelin-star restaurants, ancient sites off the beaten track, and prestigious sporting events.

Growing tourism

“Money-rich and time-poor”, the new-age Chinese travellers tend to be younger than average. They’re prepared to pay more than average for the chance, for instance, to stay in a glass igloo in Finland or propose to their partner in front of the Eiffel Tower. According to the Chinese travel services provider, Ctrip, it’s a sector in which expenditure is typically around USD 400 per person per day, and that’s set to grow further.

Until recently, mass-market package tour groups from China boosted a destination’s visitor numbers, but their spending was limited to famous landmarks during high seasons. Ctrip says the trend is to make customised travel an “affordable luxury”, available to more Chinese.

“Rich history and broad cultural diversity”

Dr Wolfgang Georg Arlt, COTRI founder, said: “Europe is a perfect example of destinations that have great potential to fulfil the demand for customised travel from China, owing to its rich history and broad cultural diversity.

“Visas, entry tickets and transport can be difficult for individual travellers to arrange by themselves and even more so in the face of language barriers. The time difference and varied ways of communicating can present complications to those travellers who are making their own arrangements. Accordingly, there is a strong demand for travel professionals to provide extensive travel services.”

“Largest market share of Chinese outbound travel… 9.3% of the market”

ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder, Olivier Jager, concluded: “There is a bright future for organisations involved in Chinese travel to Europe. As a long-haul destination, Europe has the largest market share of Chinese outbound travel, receiving 9.3% of the market. Over six million Chinese citizens visited Europe as their first stop in 2017; and our figures show more growth this year.”

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