According to a report released at the 2014 World Tourism City Federation (WTCF) Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, China’s outbound tourists are the main driver for the development of the tourist industry in targeted countries. International interest is growing in the outbound tourism market in China, and Chinese tourists are becoming more focused on quality. The report, jointly produced by WTCF and Ipsos, a market research organization, underlined the factors that affect Chinese tourists’ decisions and consumer behaviors, and the factors that affect quality of tourism.
The trend of outbound tourism in China
According to the WTCF report, China outbound travelers spent a total amount of USD 128.7 billion during their trips overseas in 2013, an increase of 26.8 per cent year on year. They tend to spend their money on luxury products during oversea trips. In addition to Hong Kong and Macau (26 per cent), Europe (23 per cent) and US (10 per cent) have become important shopping destinations for Chinese travelers. Lower prices are one of the main incentives for Chinese to shop abroad.
Three factors are or particular significance in the trend towards outbound tourism: Services are becoming more digital, ways of travel are beoming more diverse, and it is becoming much easier for Chinese tourists to travel abroad. As a result, Chinese tourists made 98.19 million trips in 2013, an increase of 18 per cent year on year. China’s post-80s generation plays a leading role in outbound tourism, accounting for 56.2 per cent, followed by the post-70s (26.4 per cent) and the post-90s (11.3 per cent).
High earners are the main travelers, and outbound tourism has become a key part of family life for high-income families. According to the report the average income per month of an outbound tourist was 11,512 yuan in 2013, three times the average personal monthly income (3798 yuan) in the main metropolises and five times the urban per capita monthly disposable income (2246 yuan). The average monthly family income of Chinese outbound tourists is around 20,767 yuan.
Young people, the main force of outbound tourism in China, usually take short trips, as their vacations generally last less than 10 days. The report shows that more than 70 per cent of tourists travel once per year. 37 per cent of outbound tourists will go abroad several times. In order to avoid the complexities of the visa application process, 87.6 per cent of outbound tourists use travel agencies for their arrangements.
Shopping and sightseeing
According to the report, the majority of Chinese tourists traveling abroad are interested in sightseeing, followed by leisure and relaxation. Around 44 per cent of tourists travel for shopping. Beautiful scenery is a factor that is most attractive to Chinese travelers. Visitors are also interested in unique culture, history and architecture. The report indicates that shopping is an important part of Chinese tourists’ spending on overseas trips (20,000 per capita in total), making up 57.8 per cent of the total. Other costs include accommodation, transport, tickets for scenic spots, entertainment, and tipping.