Tourists will play a part in national strategy
In 2014, overseas trips by the Chinese crossed 100 million for the first time. Last year, the figure rose to 117 million and China has become the No 1 country of origin for outbound tourism.
But at the same time, we have to be aware that the overseas travel is defined as including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions where mainland tourists spend a lot. So the level of outbound tourism is far lower than in developed countries and it is safe to say the market is still in an early stage of development.
Chinese tourists’ spending, which has caught a lot of media attention, is more or less a result of “tax avoidance”, because of the big difference in prices for luxury goods in China and overseas.
It is hard to deny that the rapid growth of Chinese outbound tourism and spending has had a positive impact on destination countries and economies. According to the US Department of Commerce, Chinese travelers spent $24 billion in 2014.
According to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in 2012, individual travelers from the mainland spent the equivalent of 1.3 percent of the local gross domestic production, creating more than 110,000 jobs, or 3.1 percent of overall employment. It is estimated that mainland tourists have boosted employment by 100,000 in Taiwan.
At the same time, outbound tourism has also had a positive effect on the national strategy. Tourism is a key component of the country’s Belt and Road Initiative that emphasizes cultural understanding and also plays a part in enterprises going global.
A survey conducted by China and Japan in 2015 showed that people in both countries consider tourism has enhanced and improved bilateral relations and communication among people.
In the near future, with the deepening uncertainties on global economic growth and continual economic development in China combined with a stable yuan exchange rate, the development of China’s outbound tourism will have a more favorable environment and will play a key role in the country’s Belt and Road Initiative.
According to a forecast by the National Tourism Administration, in the five years to 2020, Chinese will make 150 million trips and spend $200 billion in countries related to the Belt and Road.
Easier and more frequent outbound tourism will encourage more contact and interaction between Chinese travelers and the world.