There are many popular destinations for Chinese tourists. Chinese tourists constitute to a large percentage of the total number of tourists around the world. Chinese outbound tourism was estimated to be around 122 million in 2016. There has been a rise in the number of Chinese outbound tourists from 2014 to 2017.
What caused Chinese outbound tourism to increase?
The increase in Chinese outbound tourism is because of extensive holidays and relaxed legal restrictions on travel. More and more countries are making exceptions in their visa laws to encourage further travel from Chinese tourists, who are known to be large spenders.
Chinese outbound tourism is forecasted to increase even more as only a small percentage of the Chinese population owns a passport. It is expected that this huge population of Chinese who have never left the country will make their first departures in the coming years. All of these signs point to a dramatic increase in Chinese outbound tourism over the coming years.
Do Chinese tourists like domestic or overseas travelling?
Chinese tourists prefer to travel to certain countries compared to others due to a few specific reasons. According to recent studies it is stated that more and more tourists like to travel outside China, yet most Chinese tourists limit their travels to a few selected countries. Domestic travelling within China remains incredibly popular among Chinese tourists, as infrastructure continues to improve and more regions invest in their tourism sectors.
However, the growth in Chinese outbound tourism is expected to outpace domestic travel in the coming years. Currently, travelling to Asian countries is more popular compared to countries that are further away, as these countries offer more services and resources specifically designed to cater Chinese tourists.
Where do Chinese tourists like to travel inside China?
Most Chinese tourists start off with travelling domestically before they explore outside China. One of the most popular destinations is Shanghai for these beginner explorers.
Safety and cost of travelling for tourists:
Recently, Chinese tourists have preferred to travel domestically compared to overseas. Certain dangerous attacks that took place overseas have compelled Chinese tourists to pick safer domestic destinations. Shanghai is one of the safest cities in China, which makes it an ideal destination for tourism.
The cost of travelling overseas is also a key factor to why Chinese tourists want to travel domestically. It is quite expensive to travel overseas, therefore not all middle-class families can afford to travel overseas. These middle-class families like to plan short trips domestically as family vacation. Shanghai is a close substitute to overseas vacations because immense development in technology within the country.
Why has Shanghai become more popular?
Shanghai has been expanding its tourist attractions, presenting a great competition to other countries. Recently, the newly built Disneyland in Shanghai has been a huge contributor to the tourism industry. It has attracted numerous Chinese tourists to Shanghai.
Beijing is known for its cultural heritage, as it is rich in architecture that has strong connections with the Chinese culture. Being the capital of China, it easily maintains its image and status as a destination for Chinese tourists from around the country.
Why do Chinese tourists like travelling to Beijing?
a. Authentic Chinese food
Chinese tourists also like Beijing for the variety of food they offer. Beijing Duck is a famous dish in Chinese culture and tourists flock to popular restaurants in areas like Beixingqiao and Nanlouguxiang to eat authentic Chinese food. There are some types of food where the original flavour is only available in Beijing. These unique aspects of Beijing are what appeals to tourists.
b. Tourist attractions:
The main tourist attractions are more related to Chinese history, like the Temple of Heaven, The Great Wall, and the Summer Palace. Temple of heaven has become one of Beijing’s prized landmarks. It is an example of the imperial architecture in Ming Dynasty. This cultural heritage connection attractions many Chines tourists to Beijing.
Where do Chinese tourists like to travel outside China:
The number of Chinese tourists travelling to Japan is expected to increase from 2.4 million to 11 million by 2020. Japan is a very popular destination for Chinese tourists as it has a lot of attractions specifically targeting tourists. Japan has around 3 well-known theme parks with featured rides. These Theme parks include Fuji Q highland, Disneyland and Universal Studios.
Popular brands in Japan that attract Chinese tourists:
Apart from the adrenalin escalating theme park industry, Japan is also known for it’s shopping brands. Japan has certain brands that most Chinese tourists splurge on. Some of these brands are BAPE, Muji, Supreme and Uniqlo.
Food in Japan:
Similarly, Japan also produces highly innovative food products. These products are innovative because they have unique flavors. For example, Kit Kats in Japan have a range of flavors such as soybean, cheesecake, grilled potato and green tea. There are also fusions of flavors from well-known brands such as Mountain Dew Cheetos.
Popular Japanese snacks amongst Chinese tourists are Senbei, wasabi peas and Imagawayaki. This makes it an ideal destination for shopping snacks that are not exported to other countries.
b. DIY food products:
Moreover, Japan is also known for its DIY food products. There is a popular DIY food product called Happy Kitchen Cheeseburger. This product requires the consumer to make the tiny meal themselves with the ingredients given in the package. This innovative way of consumption is a new approach to attracting tourists.
2. South Korea:
South Korea has been a leading destination for Chinese tourists in the past years. This is because South Korea is a shopping hub for many as their skincare products are in great demand by the Chinese tourists. Few of the most popular skincare brands are Aprilskin, Dr. Dream and Shangpree Marine.
K-Pop culture in South Korea that attracts Chinese tourists:
Furthermore, K-Pop is increasingly getting popular all around the world. South Korea has become highly appealing to Chinese tourists due to the rising fame of K-pop. To utilise K-pop to increase tourism, Korean Tourism Organisation paid one of the largest entertainment company in South Korea USD 264,000 for a K-pop stage performance in France to promote K-pop and tourism.
People who had fallen in love with their stage performance will want to know more about the bands and experience the Korean culture. This will motivate these fans to travel to South Korea and further increase tourism.
Why has Chinese outbound tourism declined in South Korea?
However there has been a recent decline in Chinese tourists in South Korea. The political friction between China and South Korea has resulted in China cancelling most tour packages to South Korea. This has caused the outbound tourism in South Korea to drop by 40% last year.
These were the effects of South Korea’s decision to spread out a US anti-missile system. The country’s decision to implement terminal-high-altitude-area-defence system has negatively impacted the tourism industry. South Korea’s political instability in South Korea has lead to the drop in Chinese tourists.
The thriving Chinese outbound tourism in Thailand sharply declined recently due to a major accident. There had been a boat explosion on the way to Phi Phi Island, where 26 Chinese tourists were injured. However, Thailand has had increases in tourism from other countries to balance things out.
The other cause of the decrease in Chinese tourism is “Zero-dollar tours”. These cheap tours organised by illegal agencies attract a lot of tourists on a minimal budget. These tours by illegal agencies have drastically driven down the Chinese tourism in Thailand.
Eventually, there has been an increase in the number of Chinese tourists who had travelled to Thailand. According to recent studies, Chinese tourists have increase by 69.82% towards the end of last year. There has been an overall of 9 million Chinese tourists who have travelled to Thailand.
According to Singapore Tourism Board, 2.86 million Chinese tourists have visited Singapore in the last year. Apart from the huge number of visitors, the Chinese tourists also spend an average of USD 446 per day at Singapore.
Singapore is known as one of the safest cities around the world. As mentioned before, Chinese tourists give first priority to safety when they travel. Therefore, Singapore naturally tops the list of destinations for Chinese tourism.
In the past there has been some friction between Chinese tourists and Singapore. However, Singapore actively tries to satisfy the Chinese tourists by using a new approach towards increasing the number of Chinese tourists. Singapore is now focusing on brand building as an extensive step to further improve tourism. Around 3 million Chinese tourists have visited Singapore in the past year.
What do Chinese tourists want to experience in Singapore?
The exotic atmosphere that sets a tranquil weekend getaway for many is what Chinese tourists prefer to experience. Apart from this, research also shows that Chinese tourists want to explore in a deeper way in terms of living like locals by doing what locals do. Therefore, Singapore is improving ways in which tourists can get the same opportunities such as locals. This will improve the tight connection between Singapore and Chinese tourism.
5. Hong Kong:
Being one of the closest destinations with an overlapping culture, Hong Kong is still preferred during most during breaks. Hong Kong has always been in the leading 3 places Chinese tourists prefer. Recently, transportation to Hong Kong has become more convenient for mainland tourists. Therefore, Hong Kong remains in the top destinations for tourism in the “Golden Week”.
Overnight stay and day tours by Chinese tourists in Hong Kong:
However, there has been a decrease in Chinese tourists due to the friction between locals and Chinese tourists in the past. However, in 2017 Chinese outbound tourism has increased to 3.7 million tourists, which was one of the highest records. Similarly, number of Chinese who stay overnight in Hong Kong, has risen by 7.3 percent. Day travellers have increased by 5.0 percent. The large increase in tourists who stay overnight is a huge advantage to the tourism industry in Hong Kong. This is because the tourists who stayed overnight spent 2 to 3 times more than the day travellers.
Has less competition from other countries helped sustain Chinese tourism in Hong Kong?
This is mainly due to decreasing complaints from the Hong Kong government about mainland tourists. Moreover, the promotion of the tourism industry in Hong Kong as well as the decline in competing countries have also improved the Chinese outbound tourism in Hong Kong. Since, trips to South Korea have been banned, Chinese tourists are shifting their choices to other places. This shift has immensely favoured Hong Kong in the past year.
Although Chinese tourists prefer domestic travelling, recently there has been an increase in Chinese tourists travelling out of China. In the past they preferred domestic travelling as to avoid any language or culture problems. However, now Chinese outbound tourists want to travel outside China and experience new cultures.
This has caused the Chinese outbound tourism to thrive in recent years. There might have been a drop in Chinese tourism in certain countries such as South Korea but Chinese outbound tourism is still increasing. This is because Chinese tourists have substituted other highly competitive countries for their trips. Overall, the trend in travelling has been anticipated to increase even more in the coming years.