China travel market – overview and forecast

China’s economic growth is having obvious effects on its people. The newly wealthy middle class are spending big money on luxury goods, education, Western products, and overseas travel. The China travel market is growing at an impressive pace, and seems set to continue. For Western travel companies with an eye for expanding into China, there has never been a better time.

In the first of six blog posts focussing on China’s demand for overseas travel, we take a look at the current state of the market, and its anticipated future.

China tourism – the facts

The numbers make for exciting viewing for Western travel companies. China’s people have disposable income and a wish to spend it. In 2012, China became the largest source market for tourism spending in the world. According to figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, China’s total spend was $102billion.

In the 12 years since the millennium, the number of Chinese tourists has risen dramatically. In 2000, 10million Chinese people travelled overseas – last year the figure was 83million. Recognising that the demand for travel will only go up, large Chinese companies, including search engine giant Baidu have been investing huge sums of money into travel-related services and businesses.

China travel market grows as travel becomes more accessible

Just a few decades ago, travel was something that was only available to select groups in China. It was the hobby of the richest, which often included foreigners who had settled in the country. Now, however, China’s large economic growth has created a new middle class. These people have plenty of disposable income and a desire to see the world and enjoy themselves. As the population of China, as well as its economic success, continues to increase, this group of affluent aspiring travellers is only going to grow.

Chinese business travel

It is not just consumers who have an increasing demand for travel. As China’s economy continues to strengthen, and international trade recovers, there is a growing need for travel for business purposes. China is expected to become the world’s most dominant market for business travel, by 2016 at the earliest. Indeed, the business travel market in China is projected to expand by 17.2% in 2014; more than double the rate of expansion anticipated for the United States of America – the current leader in world business travel.

Travel marketing in China

The current and predicted state of China’s travel market makes it a potentially very lucrative market for Western businesses. Chinese consumers are hungry for travel, and want to explore the world.

This market has huge potential, and in order to capitalise on it, you’ll want to do everything right. As a Chinese marketing company, we understand not only the different ways in which technology and the internet are used, but also the culture. We can show you how to convey your messages in a way that resonate with the Chinese consumer, helping you gain a strong foothold in this large potential market.

(Image source: “Background Travel Concept” |