Thu, 14 January 2016

Latest Travel Trends of Chinese Travellers

GfK's latest analysis of the Chinese travel market shows that China produced 109 million outbound tourists in 2015, with a retail spend of US$229 billion.

Up until 2013, Hong Kong was the preferred destination for mainland China's outbound tourists, driven by its cultural similarity, lower travel costs and accessibility via short-distance travel. On top of this, Hong Kong offered a shopping paradise, and that was a strong motivating factor for mainland Chinese tourists at that time.

But since 2014, an increasing number of China's outbound tourists have been opting for other destinations that offer historical and cultural experiences, as well as shopping.

By the start of November 2015, the top five favorite destinations for mainland Chinese travelers (counting air and overnight visits), were South Korea (representing a traveler increase of 112% since 2011), Thailand (up 263%), Hong Kong (up 37%)  Japan (up 157%) and Taiwan (up 54%).

Europe remains the most popular destination for Chinese travelling outside of Asia, showing an increase of 97% in the number of air and overnight visits in the last four years. This is followed by North America (up 151%) and the Middle East (up 177%). Africa remains the destination least visited by Chinese tourists - but with signs that this could be changing, as visits have risen by 306% since 2011.

Laurens van den Oever, global head of travel and hospitality research at GfK, said, "Mainland China's outbound tourists remain strategic to Hong Kong and its businesses - but other destinations are jumping ahead in winning their favor. Destinations such as Hong Kong need to re-evaluate mainland China's new breed of young and independently-minded travelers, to understand how best to attract them and capitalize on the growth of mainland China's outbound tourism."

Chinese Millennials

According to GfK data, 50% of China's outbound travelers are 15-29 years old, while just over a third (37%) are aged 30-44 and 10% are 45-59.

The sheer size of the millennial group (15-29) within China's travelers makes this a commercially attractive target audience for those destinations who are looking to draw in Chinese tourists. This attraction is increased by the fact that two thirds (66%) of Chinese millennials belong to the high income bracket. Not only that, but their financial standing is expected to increase as their careers advance, since seven out of ten millennials hold 'white collar' executive or professional jobs.

Understanding the desires that motivate this major section of China's outbound travelers is therefore paramount.

An annual study from GfK shows that Chinese millennials are more ambitious than their predecessors, aged 50 and above - and more hedonistic in their willingness to spend money to indulge and pamper themselves. They are also slightly less price sensitive, being the biggest purchasers of luxury goods in Asia Pacific.

Chinese millennials want the ability to pursue their passions and go after meaningful, adventurous and exciting experiences. They are also technologically savvy with almost everyone owning a smartphone and being highly involved in sharing experiences on social media platforms.

For destinations looking to attract this lucrative group, the ideal approach could well be to approach them not as 'tourists' but as independent travelers who will respond to opportunities to plan personalized trips.

See other recent news regarding: GfK, Travel Trends, China, Spending

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