Anyone who is someone in today’s travel industry needs to be highly aware of the newly emerging Chinese market and what it means for the travel landscape and the industry.
China, which was not too long ago a country where international travel was strictly seen as an entity of the elite, has finally seen its people partaking in travel abroad. Those of us in the travel industry need to ask ourselves: how do we accommodate the growing needs of the Chinese segment?
The Chinese Impact
With a population that is bordering 1.4 billion, anything that China does has a vastly global impact. The United Nations World Tourism Organization said that “China is contributing significantly to world tourism.” In 2001, a meagre 10.5 million Chinese embarked on international trips.
Within less than two decades, the figure had risen to a staggering 145 million, weighing for an astonishing 1380 percent growth. Since 2012, China has remained the top global spender on tourism, and it looks like it plans to stay that way. The onslaught of Chinese travellers means big things for the travel industry, in terms of both money, recognition and growth.
The World Economy
Of course, with a number so big there is bound to be a significant monetary impact on the world economy. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Chinese travellers spent $261.1 Billion overseas in 2016, which is a stark increase from 2000’s spending of $10 Billion. The 2016 figure is greater than the combined expenditure of the next two biggest tourism spenders: The United States of America and Germany.
Chinese international tourism has led to a surge in the international job market as well as the growth of domestic industries in a number of countries. What is more, by 2018 a meagre seven percent of China’s massive population was in possession of a passport.
The avenues, therefore, that can be opened in the days to come are unlimited and unparalleled in every sense.
The Eye of the Chinese Traveler
Whilst it is established that Chinese tourists have a massive impact on the tourism industry as a whole, it is important to note precisely what are the features, which lure in the Chinese traveller and catch their eye. Two things that Chinese tourists look out for are good-deal shopping experiences and food options. They are drawn to destinations, which are rich in these aspects.
Additionally, there are a number of ways in which airlines and travel agents can cater to Chinese tourists. One very basic aspect is language accessibility. Since English is not a widely spoken language in China, most potential tourists will look for areas where they can garner information at ease, so it is always a good idea to print brochures, leaflets, menus and the likes in Chinese too. The Chinese are generally very tech-savvy, so maintaining an active online presence is sure to be of great positive effect.
One thing is for sure, Chinese tourists have transformed the travel landscape to make it increasingly more Asian oriented. With the majority of their international trips taking place in destinations such as Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore, Asia as a whole has been brought to the forefront of the revitalised travel world. They’ve also directed it to clearly favour the natural over the artificial, with most of their desired travel destinations being internationally lauded for their scenic beauty.
All in all, the steadily rising number of Chinese tourists is likely to do great wonders (more than it already has) for the global industry, provided they are well catered for by those in the industry.