More Travelers, More Spending Power: The Growing Chinese Travel Audience

Gianluca Armando, Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions
April 4, 2017

Chinese tourists are increasing not only in number, but in their spending power too. So for travel marketers worldwide, it pays to understand the Chinese travel audience to attract more visitors from this expanding market segment.

As a source of outbound travelers, China is growing. While only 5% of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people currently hold passports, China is the top global spender in terms of travel1. To put it in perspective, travel expenditure is expected to equal Finland’s GDP2. And notably, that expenditure is set to exceed the size of the Greek economy in just five years. 

More and more, travel is becoming a way of life for people in China. In fact, two-thirds of outbound Chinese travelers consider travel to be an essential part of life.

Research shows why Chinese travelers deserve marketers’ attention and Ipsos, a world leader in market research, conducted a study in 2016 to better understand the Chinese travel market. The research uncovered valuable insights into why travel marketers need to tune in to Chinese travelers.

Here are just three compelling reasons from the research:

  • Chinese travelers are among the biggest spenders on tourism: Outbound Chinese travelers spend nearly a quarter of their income on travel. Specifically, young Chinese millennials (born in the ‘90s) lead the charge, with those born in the ‘60s spending nearly as much on their global adventures. Looking ahead, one-third of travelers expect to spend 30% more in the coming year on travel, particularly dining and entertainment.
  • They seek out new destinations. Then, they stay there to explore: An overwhelming majority (92%) of Chinese travelers prefer to visit new destinations. Once they get there, they also like to stay. Trips are typically more than five days.
  • Travelers from China plan ahead: The majority of Chinese travelers make their travel plans ahead of time, providing a good future-stay base for hotels and other travel businesses. Only 10% planned less than a month ahead with 38% making arrangements two to three months in advance. Nineteen percent plan more than three months before embarking on a trip.

Keys to reaching Chinese travelers

We’ve already seen through our research on the British, American and Canadian travelers’ path to purchase that people increasingly rely on digital and mobile sources to research and book travel. Online travel agencies (OTAs) account for around one-third of site visits for these markets, and OTAs have the greatest share of visitation when looking at the booking journey as a whole.

This trend is amplified in the Chinese travel market. Just 10% of Chinese tourists use conventional travel agencies with a notable 74% using OTAs3.

Mobile is increasingly important for this audience as well. More than 62% of bookings for Chinese travelers are made on mobile devices, a 10% increase from last year’s survey results.

Chinese travelers device booking and source of booking.jpg

With travelers from China becoming more and more sophisticated in their research and booking habits, it’s imperative for travel brands to mirror that sophistication by catering to this valuable market segment’s needs. Learn more about reaching Chinese travelers through advertising opportunities on eLong and

You can also glean more valuable insights by downloading the full report: Chinese International Travel Monitor 2016.

1-3Chinese International Travel Monitor 2016 - 

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Picture of Gianluca Armando, Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions
Gianluca Armando
Director, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions
Gianluca Armando is a director of business development at Expedia Group Media Solutions where he drives business development, including the creation and implementation of digital media campaigns for marketing partners across Asian and Pacific Coasts. He started his career as an intern at Expedia Group, and over the last 10 years he has gained global experience working in a variety of countries including Italy, Spain, the UK, Australia, and Singapore. Gianluca graduated with a master’s degree in tourism economics and management from Ca' Foscari University in Venice, and now lives in Singapore with his family.
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