CHINA. Chinese outbound tourism has shown robust growth in H1 2018 but average spend on travel has fallen. This according to a joint report from Ctrip – China’s largest online travel agency – and official Chinese research institute China Tourism Academy (CTA).

Jing Travel, the travel-focused arm of Jing Daily – a content partner of The Moodie Davitt Report – said that the findings of this joint report offer “real concrete and official figures” concerning the Chinese outbound travel industry. One of the main takeaways is the fall in spending. In Dollar terms, spending by Chinese tourists per outbound trip fell -14.2% compared to relative figures for the whole of 2017.

shopping street in osaka, japan

Japan recorded impressive growth in Chinese tourist arrivals in the first half of 2018, despite a weaker Yuan. Photo: Shutterstock via Jing Travel

However, the overall number of outbound trips is up, with 2018 “well on its way to blow past 2017,” as Jing Travel puts it. 71.31 million outbound trips were made by Chinese tourists in H1 2018, up +15% from last year’s 62.03 million. This fact alone will “help keep overall spending by outbound Chinese tourists steady and should serve as a reminder that the fundamentals of Chinese outbound tourism will likely remain strong for the foreseeable future.”

In the report, the CTA also considered initiatives that were working to attract Chinese tourists. Visa facilitation, tax-exemption policies, innovative travel products, parent-child tours and customised travel were among those highlighted as successful.

The top five destinations most-visited by Chinese tourists were given as Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore, respectively. Japan showed the highest rate of growth in arrivals, at +23.6%.

Jing Travel argues that the drop in average spending is “to be expected” – a natural consequence of the changing demographic of the Chinese outbound tourist. “More Chinese residents of more modest means are going abroad,” it explains. The falling Yuan has also contributed to the drop in spending, says the publication.

This also means that the drop in spending, though “quite dramatic in Dollar terms”, is less significant when considered in the Chinese currency. “In Yuan terms, outbound spending then decreased by a more modest 9.6%.” The drop in purchasing power, notes Jing Travel, will vary significantly by destination.

Jing Travel’s conclusions? “Despite lower spending power, Chinese consumers seem to be maintaining a strong appetite for travel. A +15% increase in outbound trips is an impressive figure, especially with the Yuan losing its value.”

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*This article was originally published by the much-respected JING DAILY, a Moodie Davitt Report content partner.