China Tourism – Set for grand new year celebration

  • Overview of China tourism market
  • Journey of becoming top spender in international tourism
  • China is set to lead in tourism market


China, the world’s most populous country and second largest economy, is expected to gear up global travel boom for the upcoming years despite broader weak macro economic prospects worldwide. China tourism industry has been thriving over the past decade and has become one of the world’s top tourist markets, for both inbound and outbound tourism.  China is now the world’s largest spender, accounting for approximately one fifth share in total international tourism spending (source: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)). Moreover, China ranked second in the world in terms of contribution from tourism, contributing about 11% to GDP with total contribution of CNY 9.98 trillion (USD 1.5 trillion) in 2018. As per the World Travel & Tourism Council, China’s economy is expected to have a whopping USD 2.7 trillion from travel and tourism contribution by 2028, more than any other country in the world.  

China’s tourism has highly benefited from a large and growing domestic market. The country recorded a total of 5.54 bn domestic tourist trips at a 12.5% CAGR during 2010 to 2018, with year-on-year increase of 10.76% in 2018, as per Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China. This humongous number of domestic travelling brought a total of CNY 5.13 trillion in revenue to the tourism sector in 2018, registering a 12.3% increase as compared with 2017. According to Travel China Guide, domestic tourism is expected to attain 6.06 bn trips generating domestic tourism revenue of CNY 5.60 trillion in 2019.

China has a rich cultural and historical heritage. With a recorded history of over 5,000 years, the nation has the greatest number of UNESCO Natural World Heritage sites in the world as well as impressive wildlife. The transportation infrastructure is now highly developed and efficient in China. The country has an extensive list of air carriers which have second largest airline capacity in the world, connecting more than 60 countries and regions. Most cities in China are well connected to others via high speed rail which is part of one of the world’s longest railway network.

China’s enormous tourism market is also gaining attention from the world. In the past recent years, the industry has seen unprecedented development and sustainable growth. According to the World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019, China is the largest travel and tourism economy in Asia-Pacific and ranked 13th worldwide With regards to the Competitiveness Index, the country’s ranking is significantly up from 47th rank in 2009, a decade ago. The continuous upgrade in ranking is led by its exceptional natural & cultural resources along with its price competitiveness in terms of hotel prices and ticket prices which makes travelling in China economical.

The country’s inbound tourism reached to 141 trips in 2018, which is further expected to reach 143 mn trips as per Travel China Guide. Most of the tourists (33.5%) travel to China for sightseeing and leisure while 12.8% come here for Meeting/ Business, making it the world's largest business travel market.

Apart from ever increasing domestic tourism and inbound tourism, the demand for China’s outbound tourism is also increasing continuously. Increasing middle class with rising personal disposable income and urbanization has led improve livelihood in the country and people are now spending more on the travel.  China’s outbound tourism has now reached to 162 mn trips, increasing at more than 13% CAGR during 2010 to 2018. It is further expected to attain 174 mn trips in coming year. Its growing outbound tourism is providing immense opportunity to other countries. Currently around just 10% of China’s population base (1.4 bn) travel internationally and as per China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, the number of passport holders is expected to reach 300 mn or 20% of the Chinese population by 2027, indicating a huge potential market for the world. ‘China Outbound Tourists Visit and Spending Report 2019’ predicts that outbound tourism market of China will reach USD 365 Bn by 2025.

Rapid development in tourism sector has enabled China to provide advance tourism services to tourists, both domestic and around the world. However, China’s exceptional economic growth over the past decades has come at a cost to its environment. Concern like high pollution, safety and hygiene and visa restrictions for some countries are limiting tourism market’s potential growth in China. To overcome this, the country further needs to improve environmental sustainability and safety & security along with improvement in infrastructure, although significant progress has been made by the country in the government's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) to develop infrastructure and tourism. Televisory believes that the tourism industry in China remains lucrative and promising; and is set to reach a new high in the coming years with leading position in world tourism market.

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