Independent Chinese travelers close gap with tour groups
Chinese non-packaged tour travelers have grown significantly and now outnumber package tour travelers, especially in long-haul destinations in the U.S. and Europe.
Some 130 million Chinese travelers took an international trip in 2017, up nearly 6% over 2016, making China the world’s largest outbound tourism market.
Ctrip data show that independent Chinese travelers accounted for 42% of the overall Chinese outbound market in 2017, up from 40% in 2016. Some 14% of travelers in 2017 did a hybrid of independent and group travel, such as booking a customized itinerary or booking some tours and activities for their trip. A May 2018 Skift Research Report, “Best Practices for Attracting Chinese Outbound Tourists,” includes survey data that show nearly 50% of Chinese outbound travelers prefer independent travel.
Data from the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute show that Chinese independent travel to Australia, one of the top 10 fastest-growing destinations for Chinese tourists has risen to 58% so far this year, versus 43% in 2014.
For the United States, independent travel was 78% of Chinese arrivals in the second quarter this year. Ten-year visas, which the Obama administration began offering Chinese travelers in 2014, helped spur more independent Chinese trips to the U.S.
Europe has also seen growth in Chinese independent travel as 31% of Germany’s Chinese arrivals were independent in 2014 but 41% were independent so far this year, while France went from 54 to 55% in the same period.
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