China’s Outbound Tourists

Go West, Young Man

Outbound tourism is outstripping even probably the most constructive predictions of a decade in the past as Chinese travellers head to the furthest reaches with wanderlust of their hearts and stuffed wallets of their pockets.

“To be clever, a person ought to learn ten thousand books and journey ten thousand miles.” Li Bai (Tang Dynasty poet)

“After listening to a lot about Europe’s magnificence from the TV and magazines, we saved for 3 years to pay for our vacation there in June this yr. When we bought to Paris, we have been anticipating one thing actually grand however the lodge rooms have been small, the meals was poor high quality, the folks we met appeared a bit chilly and in some areas of town, we did not really feel very protected.” Mr. Liu Feng of Shanghai, who went to Europe for the primary time in 2005.

This response to Europe shouldn’t be unusual from Chinese vacationers who’re used, in their very own nation, to excessive commonplace lodge lodging at low costs, clear and trendy transport techniques and really low crime charges.

Just a few years in the past, the variety of Chinese vacationers travelling overseas was so small that their opinions and experiences weren’t taken an excessive amount of into consideration by the trade in Europe.

Now, nevertheless, the numbers are beginning to look spectacular and early movers within the journey trade in Europe are driving efforts to search out out what might be carried out to enhance the experiences of Mr. Liu and others like him.

China is now the quickest progress marketplace for the European journey trade and with the fitting method, resorts, B&Bs, retailers and points of interest throughout Europe stand to win giant earnings from this newly opened market.

The Market

Last yr, round 31 million Chinese travelled abroad. In the principle, they visited different Asian locations like Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, however two million Chinese additionally travelled to Europe and that determine is ready to rise yr on yr. By 2020, Europe can count on 13 million Chinese guests yearly.

Travel is especially trendy in China’s so known as ‘Golden Weeks’ – February, May and October. The working week in China is now formally restricted to 5 days and the minimal annual go away entitlement is 14 days, giving prolonged vacation time.

In 2005, the journey information publishers Lonely Planet introduced that they have been to start publishing some editions of their books in Chinese in response to the growing variety of Chinese travellers. Three of the locations for which Chinese variations of the journey e-book are to be printed are Great Britain, Germany and Australia.

However, it is not all plain crusing. The European PR machine is battling some unlucky stereotypes relating to Chinese opinions of Europe and its folks. “London is foggy, Paris is dear, Rome is soiled and Madrid is harmful” – and these are the opinions of not solely those that haven’t but visited, but additionally those that have, as voiced in a collection of shopper focus teams we carried out just lately.

Travel Agencies

The total image of the Chinese journey trade is certainly one of sturdy progress pushed by rising revenue ranges, the relief of journey restrictions and extra vacation durations being made obtainable. Only a sure variety of licensed journey businesses are eligible to function worldwide outbound journey companies and, in 1997, there have been solely 67 outbound journey businesses in China; by 2004, that quantity had risen to 528. Recent years have seen privatization and restructuring of the previous state owned businesses.

However, the company market stays fragmented and there are few nationwide gamers. It stays dominated by state-owned businesses, many with outdated attitudes to service. Both personal and overseas capital flows to the trade are being inspired by the Chinese authorities however most of the excursions supplied by the prevailing businesses are unimaginative in content material and magnificence, and the fact is that the trade has a protracted option to go earlier than it genuinely companies the wants of its clients.

At the second, 90 p.c of Chinese going overseas achieve this on group excursions and the journey businesses sometimes get a fee of round 5-20 p.c on the retail value of the tour.

Independent journey is usually not widespread and one key clarification for that is language. The Chinese training system’s emphasis on studying and writing of overseas languages leaves even these with good grades in English with poor communication expertise. For the vast majority of the Chinese inhabitants, speaking in one other language is solely not an choice. Given that vacationer literature and highway and airport indicators in Europe should not but produced in Chinese, these nations are much more closed to the typical vacationer.

Passports & Paperwork

Traditionally, Chinese residents haven’t been allowed to journey freely and haven’t had passports with which to take action. In the final three years, this example has modified dramatically.

After a lot negotiation, China has signed ‘Approved Destination Status’ (ADS) agreements with over 100 companions together with some European nations. ADS simplifies the exit process for Chinese vacationers, permitting them to journey on extraordinary passports and to use for vacationer visas.

Without ADS, Chinese residents can solely journey on visas for enterprise, research or to go to relations. With ADS, particular person Chinese passport holders with monetary assets haven’t any restrictions on overseas journey, supplied they will receive the person visas obligatory for entry to the nations to which they’re travelling. The solely restriction is that must journey as a part of an official tour group and an escort should be current always that the group is abroad.

For the European nations, ADS signifies that nations can legally promote group leisure journey via distribution and gross sales channels with wholesalers and journey brokers in addition to promote the vacation spot and its merchandise to Chinese customers.*


1983 Chinese Mainlanders first allowed to go to HK and Macao on personal enterprise
2003 Chinese residents permitted to use for personal passports utilizing their residence permits, providing the choice of worldwide journey to the lots
2004 Germany turns into the primary EU nation to welcome Chinese vacationers


· Once a passport has been obtained, Chinese residents can apply for visas to journey wherever they want

· For ADS nations, they will apply for vacationer visas and for non-ADS nations, they have to receive enterprise or visas particularly for visiting buddies and relations. (In the case of the Schengen nations, one visa permits entry to all nations which can be a part of the Schengen settlement)

· Although free journey is allowed inside vacation spot nations as soon as the visa has been obtained, if travelling in tour teams it’s commonplace apply for the tour information to carry onto the passports of all group members

· Travel brokers in China that ‘lose’ members of their teams while in Europe are rapidly blacklisted with the visa issuing operations of the Embassies and Consulates in China. The variety of completely or quickly blacklisted ADS-approved tour operators is steadily growing.


Shopping constitutes one other means for European companies to achieve from the growing wealth of China and the newly granted freedoms in journey. Whilst the numbers of vacationers is probably not excessive, the extent of spending amongst Chinese vacationers that do get to Europe, is.

A visit to Europe is usually the primary time for Chinese to journey abroad and their spending patterns might be irrational. Some merely purchase something they can not purchase in China. The spending of Chinese vacationers usually does not mirror revenue ranges nevertheless so family revenue and even disposable revenue ranges of China’s inhabitants might be deceptive. Many spend rather more than we might have predicted.

According to French vacationer authorities, common guests to France from China spend US$3,000 on one go to. By distinction, common spend by guests from North America and Europe stands at merely US$1,000.


China clearly holds enormous potential however for a lot of European operators, it’s proving a tough market.

One of the ironies of the European tourism trade is that it’s closely regulated if the customers are Europeans; but when the purchasers are buying their merchandise exterior the EU, then few rules apply.

One issue that’s serving to to drive down costs is competitors from inventive Chinese operators primarily based in Europe. These brokers are prepared to make use of casual networks of enterprise contacts that bypass most of the regular necessities of group tourism. It is tough for a longtime tour operator to compete on value with a China Town company supplying a mini-bus pushed by a neighborhood waiter and till the Chinese vacationers themselves demand extra, this example might not change. The excellent news is that we expect Chinese vacationers will likely be demanding rather more very quickly.

Other challenges:

-Short time period bookings

-Continuous altering of programmes

-Unfair competitors from small money paying brokers

-From the Chinese brokers a lack of expertise about controls on lengthy itineraries with regard to driving hours (There is hope that the brand new EU driving laws will give all operators a fair taking part in area to implement wise itineraries.)

-Insufficient information of Europe amongst Chinese salespeople

-Different habits and tastes of Chinese vacationers (behaviour in resorts and eating places is completely different to that anticipated in Europe)

-Lack of information of European Law by the Chinese tour operators.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: