Chinese outbound tourists adjust their spending: More luxury experiences, less luxury shopping

art-Chinese-Tourists-Sydney-620x349China Confidential, a Financial Times research service, estimates that total spending by Chinese travellers on outbound trips hit Rmb3.1tn ($498bn) in 2014. Spending by Chinese tourists is now greater than total spending on household consumption of around $436bn in Indonesia and $442bn in Turkey. And this figure is even more remarkable given that the Chinese outbound tourism trend is at a relatively early stage. Although the number of Chinese outbound trips grew 20 per cent year-on-year to 117m in 2014, according to official tourism statistics, less than 6 per cent of the population hold a passport.

China Confidential’s estimate for total spending is higher than the official estimate of $200bn, which excludes spending on flights, visas and other items. But the figures are in line with those from other external sources. They closely match estimates of non-educational spending by Chinese visitors to the US, for example, by the US National Tourism Office.
However, while the amount of current spending and the potential for growth remain enormous, there are signs that many travellers are starting to cut back on spending while overseas as their priorities change.
In particular, China Confidential’s latest annual report on outbound tourism, released this week and based on a survey of 1,288 outbound tourists and 40 travel agencies nationwide, identified a 6.2 per cent year-on-year slowdown in per capita spending on travellers’ outbound trips during 2015, following a 9.4 per cent decline between 2013 and 2014. The most recent contraction was led by an 8 per cent year-on-year decline in spending on shopping.


The lower spend on shopping is in part related to domestic conditions. The general macroeconomic slowdown may have prompted some travellers to rein in their spending during overseas trips, while Beijing’s anti-corruption drive has resulted in a marked reduction in gifting purchases among wealthier travellers in particular.
However, it would be wrong to view this slowdown purely in macro or policy terms. Instead, lower spending on shopping is part of a broader shift in spending priorities, with wealthier travellers increasingly prioritising experiences over luxury purchases. On average, travellers in the high-income cohort spent 31.1 per cent more than they had a year earlier on entertainment and 78.6 per cent more on other services including car rental and excursions. Those making purchases are increasingly opting for more affordable or lesser known brands, echoing trends seen domestically.

STC magazine - Gervois Hotel Rating CoverThese shifting priorities should broaden the potential beneficiaries of the Chinese outbound trend beyond the luxury retailers that have been the chief winners to date. Rising spending on experiences should benefit hospitality, entertainment and tourism service industries to a far greater extent than in the past, when many Chinese overseas travellers scrimped on hotels, food and activities to spend more at the shops. And the beneficiaries will not just be the big-name hoteliers, restaurateurs and tourist attractions, with many travellers seeking to ditch the growing crowds of fellow countrymen and venture off the beaten track.
China’s outbound journey has plenty of mileage left to run. Understanding rapidly shifting tastes and spending patterns will be key to capitalising on this long-term growth story.

Copyright : The Financial Times Limited 2015
Source: Matthew Plowright, article published on April 28, 2015 in

China’s trade deficit in services sector widens as Chinese tourists spend overseas

Bicester VillageChina’s trade deficit in services widened to U$18.3 billion in May, as Chinese tourists continued to spend more abroad than foreigners visiting the country, the foreign exchange regulator said on Tuesday.
The deficit was led by a US$16.2 billion gap in spending between Chinese and foreign tourists, according to data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
The country posted a US$17.3 billion deficit on trade in services in April. The services sector had a deficit of US$10.2 billion in May last year.
For the first five months, China had a deficit of US$76.7 billion in services trade and a surplus of US$207.8 billion on trade in goods, producing a combined surplus on trade in goods and services of US$131 billion, the data showed.
Beijing has promised to further open up China’s services sector, which is dominated by Chinese companies, to foreign investment but the process has been gradual.
The government has been trying to boost the services sector to create more jobs at a time when factories are struggling, but analysts warn that clumsy attempts to force the transition could do more harm than good.


Inversiones de China en EE.UU.: el sueño americano ya no pertenece a sus propios ciudadanos

Pierre Gervois - Chinese investments in USAEn los últimos años las inversiones chinas en la economía estadounidense han aumentado considerablemente, sobre todo en el área inmobiliaria. Mientras Washington apoya la llegada de capitales e incluso otorga un mayor número de visados a los inversores chinos, sus propios ciudadanos sufren las consecuencias de un mercado que comienza a inflar los precios.

El 40% de los estadounidenses ven a China como una amenaza económica para su país, según una encuesta publicada por la empresa Gallup. Sin embargo, muchos opinan que la situación es exactamente la contraria y que sus inversiones facilitan la recuperación y la creación de empleo.

A ese respecto el especialista en mercado chino Pierre Gervois ha dicho a RT que China “es una gran fuente de financiación para la economía estadounidense”. “Los hombres de negocios de este país asiático crearán puestos de trabajo así que en los Estados Unidos tienen mucho que ganar con la inversión”, ha asegurado.

Uno de los puntos importantes en este acercamiento ha sido simplificar los trámites para la obtención de visados turísticos. “Por eso hace algunos meses el presiente Barack Obama decidió que las visas de turistas sean válidas por 10 años con entradas múltiples. Dicha medida ha cambiado todo, es mucho más fácil viajar a los Estados Unidos que a países de Europa occidental”, dijo el experto.

Precisamente en el año 2015, los ciudadanos chinos sumaron el 80% de las solicitudes de visado de inversión, un permiso por el que se comprometen a invertir la nada despreciable cifra de medio millón de dólares. Una vez en el país, los inversores chinos se decantan, en su mayoría, por el sector inmobiliario.

La agente inmobiliaria de Los Ángeles Jessica Heung vincula este comportamiento con el hecho de que “es más económico comprar una casa en EE.UU. que en China, especialmente porque el mercado se desinfló en 2010″. Además dijo que “los inversionistas chinos compran al 50% tanto para vivir en las propiedades como para invertir en ellas”.

Según los datos de la Agencia Nacional de Inmobiliarias, entre los años de 2013-2014 los ciudadanos chinos invirtieron alrededor de 22.000 millones de dólares en el sector inmobiliario del país norteamericano.

Sin embargo, en el afán de atraer las inversiones a nivel macroeconómico, las autoridades de EE.UU. se han olvidado de sus propios ciudadanos. Con el consiguiente incremento de los precios, los bolsillos de la mayoría de los estadounidenses pierden la batalla contra el poderío financiero del comprador chino.

“Definitivamente es ahora más difícil comprar para alguien que ya viva aquí. Las hipotecas son muy caras. Para los ciudadanos estadounidenses es muy difícil competir con los inversores que vienen desde China”, confirmó Jessica Heung.

De esa manera, lo que unos ven como una fuente de dinero fácil que llega desde China, para otros puede suponer que sus metas sean inalcanzables. Parece que el sueño americano ya no está diseñado para sus propios ciudadanos.

Visit Brussels launches Belgian-UK Visitor Service pilot project for Chinese tourists

Visit Brussels - Chinese tourists - china elite focusThe pilot project for the «Belgian-UK Visitor Service» was launched by the British and Belgian Embassies in Beijing. This involves a “one stop” visa application process whereby the Chinese visa applicant who wishes to travel for a short stay in the United Kingdom and Belgium (i.e. a Schengen visa but with the main destination as Belgium) can make their visa application via the Visa Application Centre (VAC) of the UK in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The application is then processed by both the United Kingdom and Belgium .
Patrick Bontinck, CEO of, is thrilled with the decision “ was an active supporter of this initiative from the start. The fact that Chinese visitors now only need to go through one visa application process for both the UK and Belgium is a revolution. We believe this will provide a serious boost in the number of Chinese tourists to our region and are therefore very pleased and satisfied that the project launched today.”
For Chinese tourists, this means that they only need to place one application for two visas in order to visit Belgium and the UK. Furthermore, the visa can be obtained within 10 days and with no further costs incurred.

Kerala, Andra Pradesh (India) makes strong pitch to woo Chinese tourists

Asian tourist in IndiaAs India’s e-visa scheme for Chinese tourists is set to get implemented, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have made a strong pitch to woo travellers from China with lucrative packages and their age-old spice, martial arts links besides natural beauty steeped in local culture.

With its well laid out publicity network, Kerala made a big show at a special evening for Chinese media and travel writers here by organising a fusion performance combining its ancient martial art ‘Kalaripayattu’ with China’s Shaolin temple, whose early roots stretches to the South Indian state.

Six performers of ‘Kalaripayattu’ joined hands with Shaolin experts highlighting similarities between two traditional art forms at a glittery get-together organised by the Indian Embassy here.

K Sunilkumar Gurukkal, who featured in movies along with Hollywood’s Kung Fu star Jackie Chan, headed ‘Kalaripayattu’ team. Kathakali dance form was also displayed.

Kerala’s Tourism Minister AP Anilkumar is heading a delegation to China that includes state Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson and Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao.

Anilkumar said the fusion of ‘Kalaripayattu’ and Shaolin showed that Kerala and China have a lot in common, reminding the Chinese the adventure travels undertaken by China’s marine adventure traveller Zheng He to Kerala few hundred years ago.

The state still has China’s imprints like the Chinese fishing nets dotting the coast line of Kochi, a major landmark for tourists.

Though Kerala attracted over a million foreign tourists last year, Chinese accounted for little over 4,000, he said.

India is also holding “Visit India Year” campaign all over China to attract Chinese tourists whose numbers to India were less than two lakh last year.

Last year’s Chinese tourists numbers visiting abroad touched about 100 million spending over $128 billion.

Source: Economic Times / India Times