Chinese outbound tourism has skyrocketed over the past decade, and might grow even more in 2011. From 1990 to 2009 outbound Chinese tourism increased by about 20% yearly. In 2010 the number of Chinese tourists going overseas grew by 20%.
Europe has become a relatively important destination. In 2010, more than 2.5 million Chinese traveled to Europe, with the number for 2011 expected to be over 3.5 million. Though most travelers still prefer Germany, Britain, France and Italy, countries such as Greece and Iceland have begun to gain favor. The Japan National Tourism Organization said Thursday a record 8.61 million foreign tourists came to Japan last year, up 26.8 percent from a year earlier. The figure fell short of Japan’s goal of bringing in 10 million foreign tourists by 2010. The number of tourists from South Korea soared 54 percent to 2.4 million last year, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all foreign visitors to Japan. Nearly everyone is aware of this; governmental entities, local businesses, foreign firms and strategic managers, and most of all the Chinese themselves, who are increasingly aware of the worldly wonders that lay outside the Middle Kingdom. Still, it seems as though they like to keep their proximity to home.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has just released statistics showing a 26.3% increase of Mainland outbound tourism towards the Region from 2009 to 2010. The former colony, along with Macau, ranked first among Chinese touristic destinations — respectively 25.4% and 39% of the total, followed by Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea. which is indicative of the pace of Chinese curiosity in relation to its traveling trends: East, North and South East Asia widely predominate receiving more than 80% of total Chinese who travel abroad. This is indicative of the pace of Chinese curiosity in relation to its traveling trends.
Airline tickets and government incentives are also key to China’s touristic shift — both in terms of amount and direction. The emergence of low-cost airline companies in Asia is a major push towards regional traveling. Companies such as AirAsia, JetStar, and Tiger Airways are among some of the major carriers. Similarly travel agencies have grown from 6,222 in 1998 to 11,552 in 2002, almost doubling in size. Additionally, and often in relation to Chinese businesses, the government is loosening its grip on tourist restrictions by promoting traveling instead.
Organizations like Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) and Approved Destination Status (ASD) are increasingly promoting both individual and group traveling. The former focuses on allowing mainland Chinese to visit the two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) while the latter on creating bilateral agreements between the Chinese government and the destinations being visited. After all, this helps both the tourist themselves, as well as the foreign business who cater to them, which is a whole new emerging market on its own. But government and businesses aside, the social aspect to this phenomenon is vital; there is an overall increase in Chinese well-being.
The middle class is growing steadily, and with it, its global interest. The number of “private” or “leisurely” trips have grown tremendously: they make up 89% of the total travels, and have increased 19% year over year. Chinese social influence is contagious, as can be seen in the increased amount of traveling, as well as in tourist behaviour in foreign destinations. Once abroad, the Chinese like to spend. Shopping is among the leading activities pursued while traveling, which accounts for 32% of total tourist expenditure.
In 2010, $48 billion were spent by the Chinese alone, most of whom aware of their currency’s appreciation to the dollar. Luxury brands and brands not available in China become must-haves when traveling, which brings China to surpass Russia and Japan as France’s primary consumer. This has led foreign countries to pay particular attention to the Asian market, targeting and catering specifically to its tourists, including special packaging and language adaptations. There seems to be a fairly equal amount of inbound and outbound tourism profit in China, where in the past year its — 132 million — guests generated approximately $46 billion, while local travelers spent $48 abroad. And at the end of this coming year, an additional 3 million Chinese are expected to make the great leap outward.