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China tourists splurge US$229b in 2015, Europe most popular outside of Asia: GfK

Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 09:25
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China produced 109 million outbound tourists in 2015, and they come with whopping purchasing power, spending some US$229 billion in retail therapy.

CHINA produced 109 million outbound tourists in 2015, and they come with whopping purchasing power, spending some US$229 billion in retail therapy.

Market research group GfK's latest analyses of the Chinese market, released on Thursday, consolidate China's position as one of the top global sources of tourists, in terms of both number of trips and money spent during international travel.

Hong Kong, which has been the preferred destination for China's outbound tourists up until 2013, is increasingly slighted for other destinations that offer historical and cultural experiences, as well as shopping.

By the start of November 2015, the top five favourite destinations for Chinese travellers (counting air and overnight visits), were South Korea (representing a traveller increase of 112 per cent since 2011), Thailand (up 263 per cent), Hong Kong (up 37 per cent), Japan (up 157 per cent) and Taiwan (up 54 per cent).

Europe remains the most popular destination for Chinese travelling outside of Asia. This is followed by North America (up 151 per cent) and the Middle East (up 177 per cent). Africa remains the destination least visited by Chinese tourists. But GfK notes that there are signs that this could be changing, as visits have risen by 306 per cent rise since 2011.

According to GfK, half (50 per cent) of China's outbound travellers are aged 15-29 years old - the "millennials" group - while over a third (37 per cent) are aged 30-44 and 10 per cent are 45-59.

"The sheer size of the millennial group within China's travellers makes this a commercially attractive target audience for those destinations who are looking to draw in Chinese tourists. This attraction is increased by the fact that two-thirds (66 per cent) of Chinese millennials belong to the high income bracket," GfK said, adding that this group should be seen as independent travellers who will respond to opportunities to plan personalised trips.

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