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What you must know to understand Chinese tourists in 2015

It’s been at least 5 years since people truly started to notice the lightning speed increase in Chinese outbound tourism, for its best and its worse.  While it started off as mass group of Chinese with their camera and their wallet mostly dedicated to shopping (60% of their budget, CNTA), things are changing, big time some would say.

Forget the Chinese tourist shopper, the Chinese tourist traveler is here.


According to the Hotel Monitor Report 2015, Millennial have finally taken over the Chinese outbound tourism provoking deep transformation in the industry. Such quick changes are often hard to adapt to. Hotel owners, Tour operator no worries, let’s have a look at those data and see what is really necessary to remember in order to get ready for the Millenials Tourists.

Why do they travel?

Chinese tourists become younger every year, they are now a majority to be under 35. The vast majority of the 100 million trip outside China was leisure according to 91% of the respondent.

This trend matches the rise of the disposable income, especially in big first tiers cities such as Shanghai or Beijing where there is nothing better than going abroad.

Since China is opening its gates to the world, it is only normal to find business ranking second in this ranking, chosen at 43% in this ranking.

This shows the increasing taste for foreign investment and Chinese companies wanting to invest outside their local market.

17% go to visit friends and relatives. With studies and ease for immigration in some countries, Chinese citizen have more incentive to go abroad to visit the foreign friends they made while abroad themselves, family members who have immigrated to Canada or the US for instance.

The Chinese shopper cliché is fading away

Once upon a time Chinese liked shopping above all due to the novelty of huge price differences between barely taxed luxury goods abroad and China’s overtaxed ones.


Now things have been evened out

Sightseeing and good local food have become at least as important as shopping, that is something people wouldn’t have imagined possible a few years back. There is a very simple cause to that :

Chinese have become more aware of the possibilities travel has to offer therefore, with limited holidays they want to enjoy it even more.

Chinese tourists no longer seek 5 stars hotels so much anymore; they seek cheaper, fun and welcoming accommodation such as youth hostel to save most of their budget for entertainment and fun: the best compromises are 3 stars, luxurious enough but not so much as to eat their whole budget up.

Conclusion :

Chinese tourists become closer and closer to what young westerners for instance are when they travel. What will be their needs? How long will people still hold onto those hold cliche. To me it seems like if you want to anticipate what the Chinese outbound tourism market will be, you have to look at the generation coming after the one in power. So…what’s next?

Further readings

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  1. This sound great!

    I have received a number chines tourist for Kenya and Tanzania. It appears to be a very fast growing tourist market which attracts a special attention especially for east Africa.

    I need to find the best means to make my business known in China now than ever before. Please help.

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