Chinese tourists are headed your way with $264 billion
Book your holiday now, before a wave of 174 million Chinese tourists snap up the best bargains.
Already the most prolific spenders globally, the number of Chinese outbound tourists is tipped to soar further as the millennial generation spreads its wings.
Here are the numbers: 174 million Chinese tourists are tipped to spend $264 billion by 2019 compared with the 109 million who spent $164 billion in 2014, according to a new analysis by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. To put that in perspective, there were just 10 million Chinese outbound tourists in 2000.
How much is $264 billion? It's about the size of Finland's economy and bigger than Greece's.
"China-mania spread globally in the past few years, akin to when the Japanese started travelling some 30 years ago, when the world went into frenzy then, pandering to Japanese customers’ needs," the analysts wrote. "In our view, this is going to be bigger and will last longer given China’s population of 1.3 billion vs Japan’s population of 127 million.''
Millennials, or 25- to 34- year olds, are expected to make up the bulk of Chinese tourists at 35% of the total, followed by 15- to 24- year olds accounting for around 27%.
Only about 5% of China's 1.3 billion populace are thought to hold passports, meaning the potential for outbound tourism is vast.
The projected boom could be good news for the global economy. The Chinese are the world's biggest consumers of luxury goods, with half of that spending done overseas. Chinese visitors to the U.S. have risen more than 10% since 2009, the fastest pace for a destination outside of Asia. Australia, France and Italy are also popular.
Asian markets stand to benefit, with the biggest uptick tipped for Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, according to the research led by Billy Ng in Hong Kong.
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