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China outbound tourism shows slowest growth since 1997

05/31/2016| 9:09:00 AM|

Outbound traffic from China increased only 2.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 from 30.2 million to 29.5 million in the same period in 2015, the lowest growth rate reported since the beginning of outbound tourism from China in 1997.

Outbound traffic from China increased only 2.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 (30.2 million) from the same period in 2015 (29.5 million), the lowest growth rate reported since the beginning of outbound tourism from China in 1997, and the first single-digit growth rate in the current decade.

According to the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, the growth rate is primarily dampened by the drastic 11 per cent decrease in Chinese visitation in China’s Special Administrative Regions (SARs).

Meanwhile, outbound travel into other parts of the world, especially into Europe and North America, grew by 22 per cent.

Hong Kong saw a 15 per cent fall in Chinese visitors from 12.3 million to 10.4 million and Chinese arrivals into Macau slipped by 2 per cent from 5.0 million to 4.9 million. 

Roughly two-thirds of the missing arrivals into Hong Kong were not leisure visitors but day trippers, a likely result of the restrictions on “ant traders” who used to cross daily from Shenzhen into Hong Kong. Chinese nationals living in Shenzhen and working in Hong Kong also face the same restrictions. 

The number of overnight Chinese visitors in Macau actually increased by about 100,000 in the first quarter of 2016, while day tripper arrivals fell by about 200,000.

The declines saw Hong Kong and Macau SARs’ share of overall departures fall from 59 per cent to 51 per cent. 

With the negative trend for Hong Kong and Macau likely to continue, the second quarter of 2016 will most likely be the first time that the SARs are no longer responsible for more than half of all departures from Mainland China.

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TAGS: outbound travel | China | Hong Kong | Macau
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