For those of you who just can’t get enough of tour groups all wearing matching caps adorned with comically oversized brims, or tour guides with their own personal amplifier/microphone set-ups as well as the classic little red flag, good news! According to a survey conducted by Hong-Kong based investment group CLSA, the number of annual outbound mainland Chinese tourists are set to increase from 2013’s 100 million to 200 million by the year 2020—and they are bringing their diamond-encrusted pocketbooks with them.
The survey, whose findings can be found in the nearly 300-page behemoth “Chinese Tourists—Exploring New Frontiers”, included responses from 1,000 Chinese travelers from 41 different cities that regard such topics as “outbound travel demand, habits and spending patterns.” It found that “64% are interested in traveling overseas in the next 12 months and 67% intend to increase their travel budget.”
Looking beyond classic mainland-vacation havens such as Hong Kong and Macau, mainland tourists’ top future destinations are said to be such spots as Taiwan, South Korea (despite tourists feeling
“looked down upon” by locals), and Singapore: This is not just because of their close proximity to the Mainland, but also for reasons of “safety”, which was cited as one of the top considerations. For this same reason, countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, or even Thailand, whose recent political instabilities have turned tourists away despite its less recent surge in popularity following the success of Xu Zheng’s 2012 comedy “Lost in Thailand.”
However, while “safety” may account for decreasing popularity in these countries, North America’s recent crowing by a Beijing publicationas‘the most dangerous destination for Chinese’ has not necessarily scared tourists away. With Chinese tourist arrivals projected to “triple and quadruple over the next few years”in places like the United States and France, we can see how safety concerns might play a smaller role when other factors are at play.
And what factors are at play here? Aaron Fischer, CLSA’s regional head of Consumer and Gaming Research, made the following comment on what he believes the true intentions of Chinese tourists really are: “When we did this survey of 1,000 people across 41 cities in China, we asked them ‘What do you want to do when you travel?’…They say, ‘Oh, we want to go sight-seeing or experience different cultures’…but ultimately, what they want to do is shop and gamble.”
Chinese consumers, whose tendency to spend, spend, spend has been getting more and more attention, are said to make two-thirds of their purchases overseas. Greater Chinese demand for global luxury goods has been spreading like wildfire, and CLSA predicts it will make up 50% of the market share by 2020.
On a final note, the survey indicates that more and more Chinese tourists are choosing to travel independently, with 40% of respondents intending to “book their own flights and hotels and make their own arrangements in the future.” Perhaps this could actually mean an end to the armies of matching tour hats, red flags, and amplifier backpacks after all…
By Alex Stevens