One of the most important recent trends in the travel industry is the phenomenal growth in overseas travel from China.


Despite a general slowdown in the Chinese economy, the amount of outbound travel skyrocketed in 2015 and now Chinese travellers look set to become the most important market for business and luxury travel operators.


Big numbers


In 2015, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recorded 70m Chinese travelling abroad. The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and The China National Tourism Administration reported around 120m, up from 109m in 2014.


Government industry statistics for China are often disputed across many sectors, but no matter how the numbers are collected, what is certain is that welcoming Chinese flyers is becoming a huge global industry.


Many countries are benefitting from the boom in outbound Chinese travel. Neighbours South Korea and Taiwan remain the most-visited destinations for Chinese travellers. Japan, the third most popular destination, has also seen a surge in Chinese tourism, with arrivals shooting up by 47% in 2015.


Away from its close neighbours, other nations are benefitting, too. Latin America, for example, is enjoying a big increase in Chinese tourists, with Mexico accepting 110,000 travellers in 2015. Venezuela even saw a 400% increase in Chinese visitors in 2015.


The future looks strong for operators attracting the Chinese market. The WTTC now predict the China to overtake the US and lead the world in outgoing flights by 2024.


Big spenders


What is particularly striking for the luxury travel industry is how these tourists spend while abroad. Last year’s Chinese tourists devoted around one quarter of their entire annual consumption to their travel.


This willingness to spend while travelling will encourage luxury operators who can hope to capture some of this rapidly expanding market in the coming years. Chinese spending abroad totalled $219bn last year, a huge 53% increase on 2014’s tourist spending and adding to the government’s worries about too much wealth leaving the country.


Luxury hospitality and retail are key to driving Chinese tourism. Travel intelligence firm Skift point out that Asia is the fastest growing region for travel and luxury travel is the fastest growing sector, strongly suggesting that wealthy Asian passengers are a big, expanding market with plenty of potential for luxury travel operators.


Luxury retail purchases have been driving Chinese tourist spending for a while. 29% of Chinese tourists base their destination on the shopping opportunities available, favouring fashion and technology retail hotspots like Europe and the Middle East.


Just as Western luxury brands have tailored their products to appeal to the new Asian market, so too should luxury travel operators change their services to capture this new, exciting market of high-worth spenders.


For a travel management company at the forefront of global industry trends, speak to us at Simplexity today. Call 0203 535 9290 or email now.