China’s appetite for travel and spending for travel are producing numbers and trends not known just five years ago. For instance, the Economic Information Daily reported last week:
—Chinese outbound consumption reached $226.15 billion in 2015—about half this was spent on shopping, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
—Middle-income and high-income Chinese accounted for a large part of the number of Chinese shoppers abroad. Their presence has resulted in a shift away from luxury brands and high-end products to high-quality, cost-effective goods suitable for daily consumption.
—Visa-free policy offers more convenience, a Ctrip official told the publication.
—There were 75 new direct flights between China and the USA that launched in the last year—up more than 30 percent from the previous year, according the online travel agency Qunar.
—The number of travelers in China’s international aviation market grew to 50.07 million last year from 31.92 million in 2014.
—Most Chinese have never been abroad, with less than 10 percent of them holding passports, Shi Yuduan, chief marketing officer of Ctrip’s tourism business told the Economic Information Daily. This market still has big potential and will retain its growth trend in long term.
Chinese Carriers Experiencing Pilot Shortage: Chinese airlines need to hire almost 100 pilots a week for the next 20 years to meet skyrocketing travel demand, Bloomberg News has reported. As a result, some carriers, especially newer airlines or regional Asian airlines not known internationally, are making lucrative offers to attract pilots. Some other highlights from the article:
—The number of airlines in China has increased 28 percent to 55 in the past five years.
—A former United Airlines pilot told Bloomberg that he’s being bombarded every week with offers to fly Airbus A320s in China. Regional carrier Qingdao Airlines promises as much as $318,000 a year. Sichuan Airlines, which flies to Canada and Australia, is pitching $302,000. Both airlines say they’ll also cover his income- tax bill in China.
—A big paycheck is the only option for the newest carriers because they have minimal brand recognition and a limited performance record, said Liz Loveridge, who’s responsible for China recruitment at Rishworth Aviation in Auckland. Chinese airlines are paying as much as five times more than some Asia rivals for new hires, she said.
—About 30,000 pilots fly for Air China, China Eastern Airlines and their many competitors, while about 2,200 foreign pilots have transport licenses, according to the government’s Annual Report of Chinese Pilot Development. South Korea, the U.S. and Mexico contribute the most expatriates.