Chinese Tourist Arrivals around the World

For the travel and tourism 2012 research edition, Euromonitor International included arrivals from China in its inbound tourism data, where available, even if the arrivals did not make it into the top source markets. The aim is to obtain a greater understanding of which countries Chinese travellers visit internationally.

While this information is available in the departures by destination category, there is a limit to how many destinations are available. Euromonitor International reviews the top destinations for Chinese travellers according to the arrivals data to get a broader perspective.

Regional travel dominates, but the US and France make the top 10

Not surprisingly, destinations within Asia Pacific are the most popular for Chinese tourists. Shopping and gambling are strong attractions for mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong and Macau. Hong Kong has also benefited from the expansion of the Individual Visit Scheme, allowing multiple entries to Hong Kong by Shenzhen residents since 2009. Arrivals from China grew from around 10 million in 2009 to over 13 million in 2011. The scheme is also open to non-Guangdong residents living in Shenzhen. South Korea has also benefited from the relaxation of visa requirements for Chinese travellers. In 2010, South Korea began issuing multiple-entry visas valid for three years to people working in a range of professions, such as teachers and employees of the largest companies in China.

Strong business ties, as well as the Chinese diaspora, have made the US a key destination for Chinese travellers. Furthermore, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in December 2007, permitting group leisure travel from China to the US. As a result, the number of leisure arrivals from China to the US grew from 151,000 in 2007 to 587,400 in 2011, representing growth of 289%.

While group tours of Europe are popular, France receives the most Chinese visitors and is the most popular country among Chinese luxury travellers, according to the Hurun Research Institute. Aeroports de Paris rolled out the red carpet for Chinese tourists in January 2012 for Lunar New Year. The company decorated its airports, made announcements in Mandarin and Cantonese and hired Mandarin-speaking officials.

Arrivals from China and Incoming Tourist Receipts 2011

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Source: Euromonitor International 

Note: Incoming tourist receipts is not tracked for market insight countries, which are marked as not available

All figures aren’t included in the chart. More data is available with a Passport subscription

More open visa policy to lead to strong growth in arrivals

The easing of visa restrictions will encourage more Chinese visitors to travel to Hong Kong, South Korea and the US during 2011-2016. According to the executive order signed in January 2012 by President Obama, the US Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security will have to increase visa-processing capacity in China in 2012, as well as interview non-immigrant visa applicants within three weeks of them applying for a visa. The executive order also creates a new pilot programme for Chinese visa applicants, allowing low-risk applicants to obtain or renew their visas without interviews.

In June 2011, individual tourism to Taiwan was officially permitted, with Shanghai, Xiamen and Beijing initially approved as cities in mainland China allowing visits to Taiwan. Citizens living in these three cities no longer need to travel to Taiwan as part of a group; instead, they can apply for an individual permit. As a result, increasing numbers of younger consumers, particularly those that prefer non-group trips, started to travel to Taiwan in 2011, with this trend expected to continue into the forecast period.

Absolute Growth in Arrivals and Incoming Tourist Receipts from China 2011-2016

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Source: Euromonitor International

Note: Incoming tourist receipts is not tracked for market insight countries, which are marked as not available

All figures aren’t included in the chart. More data is available with a Passport subscription.