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The future of the global Chinese travel market

InterContinental Hotels Group has partnered with Oxford Economics to publish one of the most comprehensive studies into the Chinese travel market ever undertaken;

The report reveals the scale of the opportunity for global travel destinations to benefit from shifting patterns in Chinese travel, with London, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo expected to benefit most.

Published today, The Future of Chinese Travel report shows that favourable economic and demographic trends shaping the Chinese travel market are set to fuel huge increases in demand for international travel over the next decade.

It also reveals the opportunities this growth will present, as Chinese traveller preferences evolve towards long-haul, leisure-driven travel. The study reports that increases in leisure and retail spend will contribute to significant increases in the value of Chinese travellers to local economies.

Key findings

Scale of the opportunity

  • Annual arrivals from China will total nearly 97 million by 2023  (an increase of 5% per year)
  • 88 million Chinese households will be able to travel overseas by 2023

Increase in family income is the key driver behind this change

  • In the next decade, over 60 million Chinese households will cross the annual income threshold of $35,000, at which point international travel becomes more affordable

Three key trends in Chinese travel will emerge over the next 10 years:

1. Chinese demand for long-haul travel will experience huge levels of growth

  • China will overtake the US, UK and Germany to become the largest source market for long-haul travellers by 2020
  • As Chinese tourism demand matures, preferences will shift toward more expensive, longer-haul trips

2. Chinese travellers will mix business with leisure:

  • By 2023, nearly two thirds (62%) of total Chinese outbound travel will be leisure-driven – a major shift in the purpose of travel for outbound Chinese away from business

3. Chinese travellers will spend more during overseas trips:

  • Per-trip spending by Chinese travellers is expected to grow nearly 75% in nominal terms by 2023
  • Continuing shift in preferences towards higher-cost accommodation and upscale shopping

International cities set to benefit most:

  • Cities are the primary destinations for Chinese outbound travellers, with over 85% heading for major cities around the world
  • Nearly 95% of total Chinese outbound travel spending is received by major global cities
  • Among top destination countries, major cities alone receive almost half of each country’s total Chinese visitors

Access is key to attracting Chinese tourists

  • Destinations with easier access, including simpler visa policies will gain most
  • Reforms affecting Chinese travel show levels of arrivals to be 20%pts above historical trends

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