Chinese outbound travel bookings to Europe are down 7.7 per cent over the period from mid-November 2015 to mid-October 2016, due to a plunge in a few hot spots in the region, according to data by ForwardKeys.
“The terror attacks in France have frightened off visitors from China. As many Chinese tour itineraries include the neighbouring countries – Benelux, France, Germany and Italy – they too have lost Chinese visitors,” said Olivier Jager, co-founder and CEO at ForwardKeys.
The cities worst affected are Paris and Milan, with bookings down 23.4 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. They are followed by Rome and Venice, down 17 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, and then by Frankfurt and Zurich which are both down 11 per cent.
However, Spain, the UK and northern Europe have experienced a growth in visitation from China. Barcelona and Madrid are up by 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively and Helsinki, Copenhagen and Stockholm are up by 9 per cent, 6 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.
The UK has done particularly well, no doubt assisted to some extent by a favourable exchange rate; London is 7.8 per cent up and Manchester 27 per cent up, the latter benefiting from new air routes. Meanwhile, Dublin is up 37 per cent.
Looking at traffic from the whole Asia-Pacific region to Europe, Istanbul and Paris have been worst affected, with bookings down 27 per cent and 24.4 per cent respectively, while the cities perceived to be safe (Copenhagen up 14 per cent, Helsinki up 13.1 per cent, Stockholm up 12 per cent, Moscow up 23 per cent) are doing well.
Booking patterns reveal that terrorist incidents have contributed to substantial declines. After the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015 until the end of the year, bookings fell by 78.2 per cent; after the Brussels airport attack in March, bookings dropped by 29.4 per cent; and after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice bookings fell 21.1 per cent.
Analysis of future bookings to France from the Asia-Pacific region reveals that in the period through to the end of 2016, bookings are currently running 21 per cent behind where they were at the equivalent moment last year.