Chinese Travelers Increase Travel Spend by 40 Percent

Image from Chinese International Travel Monitor 2018 report
Chinese International Travel Monitor 2018

Over the past seven years, the economic and social changes in China have been dramatic. Every year more and more Chinese residents travel overseas. In 2017, there were 130 million outbound tourists, 7 per cent more than in 2016 and 85 per cent more than in 2011, when we first published CITM.

Chinese travelers have benefited this year from a rebound in the Chinese economy and strong results from stock markets in mainland China and Hong Kong. This has put more money in the pockets of Chinese travelers through increases in both salary and non-salary income.

In addition to having more to spend, travelers have increased the amount they spend on travel by 40 per cent this year, compared with last year. The increasingly influential millennials are spending unprecedented amounts on travel, with those born after 1990 increasing their travel spend by 80 per cent this year.

This year’s CITM reveals the far-reaching influence of this younger generation of Chinese travelers. Their growing sophistication and affluence is inspiring them to learn more about other cultures and to travel widely, leaving their footprint across the globe, from Latin America to Oceania and Europe to the Middle East. It is a trend with powerful momentum and next year will see millennials traveling even further afield. These younger Chinese travelers are also inspiring their parents and other travelers born post 1960 and 1970 to do the same. The number of travelers wanting to travel independently instead of in group tours continues to rise, as does the demand for edgier, boutique styles of accommodation.

Cutting-edge technology is a major drawcard in hotels and other accommodation, as is the provision of more authentic local experiences. Chinese travelers want to pursue more adventurous activities and to learn more about local culture and history.

Research Background

This is the seventh edition of the™ Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM), which takes a comprehensive look at the impact on global travel by mainland Chinese travelers.

The report is based on research involving Chinese international travelers, combined with proprietary data from and other research. engaged Ipsos, a world leader in market research, to conduct interviews during May 2018 with 3,047 Chinese residents, aged 18-58 years, who had traveled overseas in the past 12 months. A computer-assisted web interviewing technology was used for the different-tiered cities.

Chinese cities are classified into different tiers based on population, economic size and political ranking. Tier 1 includes cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, Tier 2 provincial capitals such as Chengdu, Tier 3 medium-sized cities such as Zhuhai and Tier 4 smaller-sized cities.

Travelers were asked about their spending patterns, travel preferences, booking methods, accommodation choices and future plans, along with many other aspects of their travel.

When analyzing their responses, researchers divided travelers into four age categories, those born after 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1990, to provide further insight into the choices and preferences of different generations. Those born after 1980 and 1990 are referred to as millennials throughout the report.

Figures on spending, including prices paid for hotel rooms, are quoted in Chinese Renminbi (RMB) and their US dollar equivalent whenever possible. Unless otherwise indicated, the RMB–US$ exchange rate used in this survey is US1 = RMB6.37, the rate on 20 May 2018, the mid-point of the field research.

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