Posts   |   What slowdown? Chinese tourists break records

March 22, 2016
What slowdown? Chinese tourists break records

A new study by the World Travel and Tourism Council notes a stunning rise in Chinese tourist spending in 2015, shattering the $200 billion mark. All told, Chinese tourists spent $215 billion outside mainland China in 2015, up from $140 billion in 2014.

To put that number into perspective, Chinese travelers spent more in 2015 than the entire GDP of Qatar, New Zealand, or the Czech Republic. To take it a step further, the Chinese traveler spent more in 2015 than the combined GDP of Lebanon, Kenya, Uruguay, and Tunisia — or Morocco and Ecuador combined.

The rise of the Chinese tourist is a relatively new phenomenon. In the year 2000, some 10 million Chinese traveled outside mainland China, and by 2014 that number reached 109 million, hitting 120 million today. By the year 2019, it is estimated that some 174 million Chinese will travel outside of the mainland — roughly equivalent to the entire populations of Germany, France, and Canada combined.

The FT quotes David Scowsill, president and chief executive officer of the WTTC, as saying, “Chinese outbound tourism is growing like crazy. There were some significant shocks last year, in the stock market and the currency, but it didn’t slow the growth of travel and tourism. Once people have started to travel, they are reluctant to give that up.”

CNN reports that “one in every 10 international travelers now comes from China.”

“The growth of Chinese [tourists] traveling abroad has been extraordinary,” David Scowsill, CEO of WTTC, told CNNMoney. “A lot of this growth is stimulated by more and more people coming into the middle class.”

As CNN further notes, “Chinese people tend to begin traveling abroad once their household earns about $35,000, Scowsill said. Between 2003 and 2013, about 21 million households crossed that threshold, he said. Another 61 million households are expected to achieve those earnings by 2023.”

For the full CNN report, see here