The last four quarters have seen some dramatic changes in the growth rates of major Chinese outbound travel destinations. Up to Q3 2013 Thailand enjoyed growth rates close to 100% per quarter, whereas Japan reported major losses of almost 30%. Starting with Q4 2013 however, the two countries performed a perfect role change: Now Japan saw – based on the low numbers of 2012/2013 – three quarters in a row with 80+% increases, while Thailand did a great fall of Humpty Dumpty proportions towards almost -30% in Q2 2014.
Vietnam and Taiwan could profit from Thailand’s problems, although for Vietnam the arrivals since May 2014 also dropped. South Korea however is the main winner of the many problems Southeast Asian destinations encountered in the current year. Growing at double and even triple the pace of the overall Chinese outbound market, South Korea overtook Thailand as the most important destination except the SARs. The Top 10 of China’s outbound tourism between July 2013 and June 2014 nevertheless still remains an almost exclusively Asian club, which only the USA are able to join. The importance of destinations outside the Top 10 is however growing, about 20 million out of 106 million trips from Mainland China ended in other countries, representing a 19% share.
COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute forecasts for the next period Q3 2014 to Q2 2015 a total number of border crossings from Mainland China of 125 million, of which an additional ten million will end up in destinations outside the Top 10 list, bringing their share up to 24%.
In the current Top 10 list the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau still remain way ahead of all other destinations with 44 million and 20 million arrivals (including day trips) respectively. South Korea has overtaken Thailand with five million arrivals compared to Thailand’s four million. Taiwan is on position 5 with 3.5 million arrivals, whereas the destinations at the bottom half of the list all received about two million Chinese visitors in the period Q3 2013 to Q2 2014, namely Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and the USA.