China

The future of Chinese travel

Tiffany Misrahi
Vice-President of Policy, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on China?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how China is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

China

With nearly 1.4 billion people, China is the most populous country in the world and is quickly becoming the largest source market for international travel. The potential for Chinese travel abroad is immense considering that today, just 5% of the population has a passport.

The increase over the last decade can be explained by speedy urbanization, easing of restrictions on foreign travel and increasing disposable income. The numbers confirm this. Chinese travelers made more than 67.5 million trips abroad in 2014, with record spending of $165 million. Tourism to China is also thriving, ranking 4th globally in terms of international arrivals (UNWTO data). Over 55 million international travelers visited China in 2014.

blog3

Today, China generates 13% of global tourism receipts, benefiting many destinations around the world, especially in Asia Pacific. What this means however, is that industry leaders must understand the needs of Chinese travellers. At the same time, the world needs to be ready to welcome them. According to a report published by Oxford Economics and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), by 2023 annual arrivals from China will total nearly 97 million globally.

In the next five years, 400 million people globally will enter the middle class, many of whom are likely to originate from the Asia Pacific region. Because tourism is a driver of growth and creates jobs, there is a strong incentive to attract this new middle class to your country. Chinese travellers are ranked among the top spenders both per trip and number of nights. It is expected that as Chinese households move towards the middle and upper classes, there will be a higher demand for long-haul leisure trips together with more luxurious accommodation and shopping.

blog4

Source: The Future of Chinese Travel (2015) by IHG and Oxford Economics

According to IHG’s recent report, The Future of Chinese Travel, cities are the primary destinations for Chinese travelers: 85% choose major cities as their destination of choice.
blog5

While Chinese outbound travel is booming, China’s Travel & Tourism industry has the potential to become even more competitive as a destination. According to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness 2015 report, China ranks 6th regionally and 17th globally. The country’s strengths lie in its rich cultural resources (4th globally) and natural resources (3rd globally in World Heritage Natural sites).

China’s continued investments in infrastructure, especially with further planned improvements in air infrastructure (25th globally), will enable the country to welcome more visitors.

To continue building on its successes and boost the industry’s competitiveness, China should focus on policies to create a more enabling environment to do business. The country should also increase international openness, for example, in the area of ease of travel.

Destinations with simple access policies, such as undemanding visa procedures, will benefit the most from foreign tourism. This does not only apply to China. Research shows that simplifying access to travel for the Chinese traveler will lead to an estimated 20% increase in arrivals.

The Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015 is taking place in Dalian, China, from 9-11 September.

Author: Tiffany Misrahi, Community Lead, Travel & Tourism Industries , World Economic Forum

Image: Mainland Chinese tourists tour the Peak overlooking Hong Kong June 18, 2013. Snowden reportedly flew to Hong Kong on May 20. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
ChinaSupply Chain and Transport
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Davos 2024: Special Address by H.E. Li Qiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

January 17, 2024

Liming Chen

January 14, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum