China's outbound tourism spending tops $226b, half on shopping

Updated: 2016-08-18 13:56


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China's outbound tourism spending tops $226b, half on shopping

A chinese tourist takes a selfie in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, May 5, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese outbound consumption reached 1.5 trillion yuan ($226.15 billion) in 2015, of which about half was spent on shopping, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

However, during the same period, international travelers spent 384.6 billion yuan in China, a mere 2.94 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

On one hand, some foreign tourists are reluctant to come to China as a result of problems such as overcharging and cheating in services. On the other hand, some countries have relaxed their visa policies and have improved their services to attract more Chinese travelers, Economic Information Daily reported.

Gao Hucheng, minister of commerce, said earlier that Chinese outbound consumption reached 1.5 trillion yuan in 2015. Of which, at least 700 billion yuan to 800 billion yuan were spent on shopping.

Middle- and high-income groups accounted for a considerable proportion of the Chinese shoppers abroad, with their shopping preference shifting from the luxury brands and high-end products to high-quality, cost-effective goods suitable for daily consumption.

Easing travel restrictions, good services and attractive prices remain the key drivers underpinning the Chinese outbound tourism growth story, the newspaper said.

Visa-free policy offers more convenience, an official at Ctrip, one of China's leading online travel service providers, told the newspaper.

For example, Jeju Island in South Korea and Indonesian holiday resort island of Bali offer visa-free travel for Chinese travelers. Thailand also introduced a six month multiple entry tourist visa for Chinese tourists.

According to Ctrip's latest data, Thailand recorded most visa applications in the first half of this year. Singapore and South Korea ranked second and third respectively.

In addition, adding new flights also bring down tickets prices and stimulate outbound tourism.

Take the United States as an example, 75 new direct flights were opened between China and America last year, up more than 30 percent from previous year, according to Chinese online travel agency Qunar.

The number of travelers in China's international aviation market rose to 50.07 million in 2014 from 31.92 million in 2010, according to data released by Industrial Securities. Among them, the number of Chinese travelers registered a 131 percent increase.

In the future, Chinese outbound tourism is likely to continue to see positive trends.

Most of Chinese have never been abroad, with only less than 10 percent of them holding passports, Shi Yuduan, Chief Marketing Officer of Ctrip's Tourism Business told the newspaper. This market still has big potential and will retain its growth trend in long term.