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UK report shows Chinese outbound leisure trend shifts into cities

03/05/2015| 10:18:12 PM|

“London, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo” are named as the places likely to benefit most from this influx of Chinese travellers.

IHG and Oxford Economics have released a report into the Chinese outbound travel market, predicting a shift towards long-haul international leisure travel in the next ten years or so.

There is no direct reference in the report to how these travellers will buy their trips. But the scale of the opportunity – 90 million Chinese households able to take long-haul trips by 2023 – is compelling for Chinese OTAs and outbound specialists, international OTAs with a Chinese presence and in-destination providers offering  online service to Chinese guests.

It is possible to get statistics fatigue when looking at China – we all know about the massive growth potential.

But what is new in this report is the Chinese outbound travellers’ interest in long-haul travel, compared with previous studies which have have focussed on intra-regional traffic. Within this, Chinese travellers want to visit cities – the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Ayres Rock or the Mediterranean beaches do not have the same appeal as urban environments.

Cities are currently the destination of choice for long-haul Chinese travellers, with the figures skewed by business travel. But by 2023 leisure travel will account for 62% of international outbound travel with cities still the main attraction.

“London, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo” are named as the places likely to benefit most from this influx of Chinese travellers, with “higher-cost accommodations” increasingly popular with the Chinese visitor.

The stereotypical Chinese traveller abroad is on a group package trip, and the statistics back this up. Interestingly, the report notes that “the popularity of group leisure travel is unlikely to diminish” as first time travellers like this product.

But chances are next time these tourists will opt for individual travel, booking independently. This means that  Chinese travel firms which sell pre-packaged trips need to retarget their own customers to offer them dynamically packaged trips.

In terms of what the Chinese visitors get up to when they are in the cities, the study refers to some Ctrip findings which suggest that currently Chinese tourists spend as much on shopping as they do on accommodation. This is unlikely to change over the next ten years, although the absolute spend will increase – “per-trip spending by Chinese travellers is expected to grow 73% in nominal terms by 2023″.

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TAGS: China | outbound tourism | cities
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