Mark Tanner

Golden Oldies Not the Chinese Tourists to Watch this Golden Week

2017/09/27 Mark Tanner
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Visit any popular tourist spot in China or abroad next week and you’re likely to appreciate the scale of China’s tourist machine operating in top gear. October Golden Week is the yearly climax of leisure travel in China; for many, it concludes as much as 6-months of deliberating and planning for the big annual holiday. The Chinese Tourism Academy expects 710 million trips will be made by Chinese between October 1-8. That’s 10% more than 2016 with spending up 23% to ¥590 billion ($90 billion).

Whilst the large majority of trips may be domestic, they can provide a glimpse into travelling preferences which are likely to follow for outbound travel. One of those trends is self-driving holidays. 560 million road trips are forecast to be taken – 10% more than in 2016 – providing no respite to last year’s ‘Carmageddon’ which saw 50-lane traffic jams as travellers returned home to Beijing.

Over 6 million Chinese will travel abroad during the festival, with more and more travelling beyond the traditional Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan destinations. Parts of Thailand, Singapore, Japan and the US are likely to be inundated, but the once-popular South Korea won’t see a lot of love. China’s trade diplomacy remains in full swing over the US missile defence system THAAD fall out as package holidays to the country remain suspended. CTrip expects a 70% drop in Chinese visitors to South Korea over Golden Week, following a 20.9% drop between January to July this year against a 5.1% increase of outbound tourism overall.

With the exception of a few long haul destinations and ‘red tourist‘ hotspots, most Chinese visitors are likely to be fresh faced millennials. Just one in ten international trips from China are made by travellers 45 or older, with 60% of seats filled by 18-34 year olds.

Young, independent and Chinese travellers are driving change beyond those traditional Chinese traveller stereotypes of bus tours and shopping holidays. As proof of their increasing sophistication, dining, sightseeing and leisure activities took out the top spots in terms of daily expenditure, displacing shopping from its throne this year according to Hotels.com research. Chinese travellers born in the 90s spent an average of 35% of their income on international travel in 2016 versus 28% overall.

Across all age groups Chinese are taking more trips and for longer, with days per trip increasing from 3-4 and from 5-7 days over the past year. 80% of travellers surveyed are visiting multiple cities while away, presenting opportunities for lesser-travelled regions.

Fortunately, the growing wave of sophisticated Chinese travellers won’t just benefit the travel industry. Education, investment, migration and a slew of well positioned consumer products will also profit from the halo effect of tourism.

Las Vegas will be one of the popular destinations for Chinese tourists over the next couple of weeks, and for Skinny readers in the dietary supplement, beverage, functional food, personal care and sports nutrition industries who will also be there for Supply Side West, ensure you attend the China Opportunities Workshop on Friday September 29 at 8:30-noon.  China Skinny’s Ann Bierbower will be opening the workshop, covering the what, why and how of trends in China. Please pop by to say hi! More information here.

For our China-based readers, we hope you have a great Golden Week holiday and manage to escape the crowds. We’ll be back after the break in the second week of October. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.

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