Chinese Tourists Want to Discover the World

In 2018, many Chinese realized their wish “The world is great, I want to see it,” and travelled the world.

Many Chinese travellers have already started planning their trips for 2019 and are planning to go further.

For several years, China has remained the world’s largest overseas tourism market with nearly 150 million overseas visits by Chinese tourists in 2018, including 6.5 million during the Chinese New Year period.

This number is up 14.7% year-on-year, according to a report recently published by the Chinese Tourism Academy and Ctrip (Chinese service provider: hotel reservations, transport tickets, etc.). The report says the nation still shares a bright future in the development of tourism abroad.

I) Some information about Chinese tourism abroad

First, the total amount of foreign consumption related to tourism in 2018 was not accurate, but the academy estimated it could reach about $120 billion, which helps boost the global economy.

We know that between 2002 and 2017, nearly 173 million passports were issued. Today more than 10% of the Chinese population holds a passport.

The number of trips organised by travel agencies is 274,000, an increase of 2.5%.

According to statistics from the National Immigration Administration 71.25 million visitors would go to foreign destinations.

II) Favorite destinations for Chinese visitors

Unsurprisingly, the most popular destinations abroad are Tokyo, Bangkok and Osaka, all located in countries close to China.

At the same time, some “atypical” countries have significantly increased their attractiveness to Chinese travellers such as Serbia, Turkey and Portugal.

The favourite destinations for Chinese travellers at the moment are:







-The United States



-The Philippines



The popularity of these niche destinations is linked to two phenomena:

The increase in quality content touting these destinations on the various sites of OTA’s (Online Tourism Agency).

Many videos of trips made by Chinese tourists during their visits and disseminated on social networks.

In addition, travel costs to these atypical destinations are decreasing compared to previous years, and the establishment of direct airlines from leading cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Statistics show that the total cost of travel to Europe has decreased significantly, followed by that of the Asia-Pacific region.

III) Travel Organization for Chinese Travellers

We now know that the main clientele of foreign travel is mainly young people between the ages of 18 and 29. Of these travellers 55% are women.

We can also add that Chinese visitors are travelling more and more with family and individuals. Nevertheless, organized group trips are still the most common.

Ctrip revealed for the first time the age structure of its users: the proportion of customers under 35 years of age remains stable at around 70% in the last five years, among which young people under 29 have experienced the fastest growth from 30% to almost 50%.

Finally, for Chinese visitors the New Year is the best time to go on holiday.


Indeed, during this chinese New Year period, the people of the Middle Kingdom have seven days of vacation, although the holidays must be made up.

This is why many tourists leave during this period with their families.

IV) Travel booking habits

Online information searches begin about 78 days before the trip

Bookings on mobile apps are gradually becoming routine

Social networks, films shot abroad, as well as television programs have a huge influence on the Chinese and their choice of destination.

It is now important to know that tourist destinations or brands that wish to attract this Chinese clientele must realize that the Chinese live in a digital system completely different from the Western genre.

Knowing that Chinese visitors are hyper-connected, they need specific strategies to attract these travelers. These must integrate communication channels such as WeChat, Weibo, e-commerce platforms like JD.com or Tmall, as well as some mobile applications widely used by Generation Z such as Douyin and The Little Red Book.

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Our Marketing-China site is intended to be informative and useful to professionals wishing to develop in China. Our Agency sets up services to carry out your projects in this growing market.


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