And other Takeaways* from the Latest China Outbound Tourism Research Institute Report:
With a decline of 9.5 percent for the first half of 2018 vs. the first half of 2017, inbound traffic from China to the U.S. has ended a hitherto unbroken record of growth since 2007, when the U.S. was given Approved Destination Status. This is just one of the takeaways one gets in reviewing the COTRI (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) Market Report for Autumn 2018. The decline seems to agree, if not exactly, with counts and estimates elsewhere in the international inbound tourism industry.
The COTRI Market Report takes a comprehensive look at the Chinese outbound tourism market for the first half of 2018, including data on Chinese arrivals around the world; updates on visa regulations and new flight routes; in-depth reports on select destinations and market segments; and data from two of China’s leading OTAs and travel websites: Ctrip and Qyer. Some of the Market Report’s takeways include the following:
—Aside from the USA’s year-on-year decline, as well as that of South Korea (down 3.7 percent) and Indonesia (off by 0.7 percent), most of the top 15 arrival destinations for Chinese outbound tourism have seen double-digit year-on-year growth for the first half of 2018.
—2018 has been a particularly strong year for Chinese outbound tourism growth, with 42 million border crossings outside of Greater China (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) for the first six months of the year, accounting for 53 percent of Chinese outbound tourism. COTRI predicts that destinations beyond Greater China will receive 60 percent of Chinese arrivals by 2024, and 66 percent by 2030.
—Most of the highest growth destinations worldwide have enacted visa reforms to benefit Chinese tourism in the past three years. These include Morocco, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina, which all offer visa-free travel for Chinese tourists.
—In the first half of 2018, 42 percent of leading Chinese OTA Ctrip’s sales have been for FIT products, with 44 percent for package group tours, and 14 percent for private group tours and customized travel.
—At nearly 15 percent of Ctrip’s market, customized tours and private group tours continue to grow as an important outbound market segment. This kind of travel is more expensive than package group tours or FIT, and the travelers that opt for it tend to be wealthier and more sophisticated, looking for a local, unique and in-depth travel experience, as well as greater privacy.
—There are 50 million Chinese nationals living overseas, outside of Greater China, and they attract VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travelers. VFR tends to be one of the most stable segments of the Chinese outbound tourism market, less affected by seasonality or politics. While 70 percent of Chinese living overseas are in Asia, the top 15 countries for VFR travel are more spread out, with a preference for English speaking countries including the United States, Australia and the UK, in the top three positions, respectively. VFR travelers tend to spend longer in a destination, with more potential for dispersal and visiting surrounding areas.
* Adapted from an article that first appeared earlier this month on the Dragon Tail interactive website (www.dragontail.com).