What are 2019’s trends in Chinese outbound tourism so far? We’ve rounded up statistics from the first half of the year for 17 different destinations in four global regions. Most sources, unless otherwise stated, are from the destinations’ tourism boards (and all data includes a source link).
Learn more about Chinese tourism trends in H1 2019 from the recorded Dragon Trail x Jing Travel webinar, presented on July 30, 2019.
Chinese arrivals to Vietnam were down 3.3% in H1 2019, and they were also down 4.73% to Thailand. However, these are still both among the top destination countries in the world for Chinese outbound tourists.
Arrivals to Singapore are stable, with 4% growth in the January-May 2019 period. Another top destination country for Chinese tourists in 2019, Japan received an 11.7% increase in Chinese arrivals in H1 2019. Arrivals to South Korea looks like they’re finally close to recovering from 2017’s ban on group tourism. 29% more Chinese visited South Korea in H1 2019, and in May, arrivals to South Korea surpassed 500,000 for the first time in 27 months. There’s 30-50% growth projected for North Korea in 2019, in part because of the reopening of the Mass Games to the public. And as tourists from western countries avoid Myanmar due to human rights issues, Chinese visitors have increased by 140% in H1 2019. The Nepal Tourism Board reported a 34.1% increase in Chinese arrivals in June 2019 compared to the same month the year before.
There’s a surge in Chinese tourism to Southeastern Europe. Zagreb, Croatia had a 20% increase in Chinese tourism in H1 2019. Chinese tourists to Sarajevo, Serbia increased by 110% in May 2019, compared to May 2018, with 205% more Chinese tourists in April 2019 compared to 2018.
According to a Ctrip press release, Ctrip bookings to Bulgaria were up 500% in H1 2019. However, Chinese media reports in English and Chinese based on information from Ctrip, said there was a 280% increase in flight bookings. Though there is a notable discrepancy between these two figures, our source at Ctrip explains that they are probably based on different matrix (e.g., purely flight bookings vs. flight, hotel, and tour bookings), and they both point to a significant increase. The president of Bulgaria traveled to Shanghai to meet Ctrip’s CEO this summer.
Chinese arrivals grew 10% to Dubai in H1 2019, to 369,000. China is Dubai’s fourth largest tourism source market, after India, Saudi Arabia, and the UK.
As of May, Chinese arrivals to Canada were down 0.7% compared to the same period in 2018 (Destination Canada).
Chinese travelers visiting the US for pleasure were down 5.1% in H1 2019, according to official US government data. As of June, Chinese visitors to Hawaii were down around 36%, according to the Hawaiian Tourism Authority.