Tour OperatorsShopping still top activity but travellers are increasingly drawn to food, cruise and performances

Staggering new figures reveal the growth of Chinese outbound travel spending

Spending by Chinese travellers is becoming increasingly diversified.
Spending by Chinese travellers is becoming increasingly diversified. Photo Credit: Zhang mengyang/GettyImages.
SHANGHAI - Group and UnionPay International’s 2019 Chinese Outbound Travel Consumption Report has revealed the extent of big spending by Chinese travellers overseas.

And while shopping is still  the biggest item to make a dent in travellers’ credit cards, other areas of interest, including catering, cruise and self-driving, are increasingly shaping spending patterns.

The report, combining big data derived from outbound travel product orders and overseas bank card transactions by Chinese nationals provides insights into the cross-border travel consumption trends of Chinese travellers.

According to the statistics from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, Chinese nationals made more outbound travel expenditures than travellers from any other country, with total consumption reaching US$127.5 billion.

Online Travel Agencies (OTA) and UnionPay banks are the dominant tools for Chinese travellers for their overseas trips.

In 2019, the outbound travel products purchased by Chinese nationals covered 158 countries, 17% growth year-over-year.

According to the statistics by UnionPay International, the top ten sources in China in terms of outbound travellers who spent the most were Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Sichuan, Hubei, Shandong, Fujian and Liaoning.

Shopping remained at the top of Chinese outbound travellers’ expenditure categories, but the consumptions by Chinese travellers are increasingly diversified, with other top categories including catering, accommodation, tour guides, places of interests, performances, transportation, local entertainment activities, self-driving and cruise.

Top 10 overseas shopping destinations for Chinese travellers in 2019 were Japan, UAE, United Kingdom, France, Singapore, United States, Spain, South Korea, Italy and Australia.

More than half of the outbound consumption and bookings by Chinese travellers occurred during their trips, instead of booking in advance.

Data from the Things-To-Do platform on Group showed that the order of museum tickets in foreign countries increased 105%, overseas ride-hailing orders on Group app increased over 300% with average spending per capita over RMB 70, and orders for local tour guides rose 40% with the average order exceeding RMB 800 (US$113.7).

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI