China online travel agency Ctrip observed in a study that China outbound travel is already coming of age with the emergence of second-tier cities as fast expanding travel markets.
Ctrip is not only the largest online travel agency in Asia. The company is also ITB China’s main partner and is for the first time present at ITB Berlin.
The company recently released its “2017 China Outbound Tourism Travel Report” in cooperation with China Tourism Academy (CTA), a specialised institute under the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA ) , highlighting the importance of China travel.
China outbound tourism reached a total of 130 million trips last year, up 7% over 2016. Spending on holiday was estimated at US$115.29, up by 5%.
China is rapidly turning into a mature travel market, illustrated by the rise in independent travel (Free Independent Traveller or FIT) and the emergence of second-and third-tier cities as outbound markets. While the first trend highlighted by Ctrip is certainly influenced by the fact that the agency operates only online – attracting more FIT travellers than conventional sales channels – the emergence of secondary cities as outbound markets is a long-term trend. With air connectivity improving to and from secondary cities and rising purchasing power all across the country, there is a new wave of travellers emerging from cities outside China’s big metropolitan areas (Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen). According to Ctrip data, Xian and Changsha saw outbound travel growing respectively by 323% and 235% last year. Sichuan capital Chengdu generates now more outbound travellers than Guangzhou and Shenzhen and is the third largest overseas travel source after Beijing and Shanghai.
Chinese favourite destinations in 2017 included Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Maldives and the USA. However, Chinese are increasingly attracted by new destinations such as Mexico, Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia and the UAE
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