China, the world’s lead tourism source market in 2016

Dec 8, 2017


China has changed a lot since the collapse of Mao Tse Tung’s communist model in the 1980s, but maintains in its culture the vocation to be the first in everything, and in the short term.
This should not be new, if we consider that during 20 centuries this nation was a commercial and an economic power, surpassing many of the west countries, that now are astonished before the advance of the Asia giant.

That is why it should not be surprising that this country, whose motor of growth has remained close to 8 percent annually for decades, is now also the first tourism market source  since 2011.
Indeed, in 2016 about 131 million Chinese made tourism in the world. At a growth rate of 20% annually, it is expected that between 2017 and 2020 are about 1 billion tourists traveling outside China.

These travelers demand more and more services, more transport, more hotels and gastronomy, generating new challenges for the whole tourism industry chain that wants to capture part of this group of Chinese citizens eager to live new experiences outside their country.

Changes in the Chinese market

To understand in part how the tourism business in China has changed, it is important to know about the changes in the Chinese issuing market. This sector grew 9 percent annually between 2008-2016.
In 2016 China generated almost 10 percent of the total number of international tourists from around the world. Statistical data only confirms that tourism development is a growing and unstoppable trend in this eastern country.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, outbound tourism spent 4 percent of the 31 trillion yuan that constitute the nation’s total commodity consumption.

The most important changes that have occurred in this country have to do with sales and distribution of tourism products. The 20 largest companies now account for more than 46 percent of the travel business, including both domestic and international.
A tendency to observe has to do with the fact that the tourism industry in China is being distributed among a few large groups. Small companies have to be integrated in some way to the large groups, whose growth is explained by large investments and sales figures on the internet.
Competition in this market becomes competition between systems, in scale and volume, and platform connections for collaborators’ use.


In the midst of these changes, we should pay attention to the composition of this tourists offer coming from China, which will allow us to better understand their needs. However it is good to clarify that, beyond the figures, what will give us a greater empathy with the visitor of China is to learn of its culture, its manners, its approach to the people and its, sometimes silent, way of communicate.

Young people are the ones who travel the most abroad: those born after 1980 represent 44.89% of tourists, according to data from 2015. As for sex, women are 58.50% and men 41.50%. If we look at the studies, the prevalence of people with a university degree is remarkable: they are 73.65%. While those who are studying higher education, they total 12.57% and those who have a master’s degree occupy 12.57% of travelers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the vast majority of Chinese traveling abroad come from cities.

In short, the trend in recent years is very clear in China. Traveling abroad has become an activity within reach of a part of the Chinese population, especially the growing middle class. But also, travel is already part of the Chinese way of life, constituting a way to spend the savings that is becoming increasingly popular in this country.

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