France is the most popular European country for Chinese travellers – significant increase in Chinese arrivals in Switzerland and Czech Republic
According to the latest available figures by the UN World Tourism Organization, France is annually visited by more than 1,1 million Chinese tourists and therefore the most popular destination for Chinese visiting Europe. Germany (637.000) and Switzerland (453.000) follow with a respectful distance. Austria (259.000), Italy (209.000), UK (149.000), Czech Republic (109.000), Belgium (102.000), Turkey (93.000) and Sweden (73.000) complete the top 10 European countries for Chinese tourists.
Very interesting is the development of the number of arrivals over the last five years in the top 10 European destinations for Chinese tourists. While there had been a tremendous increase in Switzerland and the Czech Republic, with a CAGR of more than 30 %, the number of tourists from China increased only marginally in the UK and Belgium (CAGR of 1 %). Taking into consideration the average growth of Chinese Outbound tourism for the same period (CAGR of 14,4 %) it can be derived, that some countries (Switzerland and Czech Republic) benefited over-proportionately (e.g. Switzerland and Czech Republic), while others could not take advantage of this boom (like UK and Belgium). All countries have in common, that the number of Chinese tourists increased over the last five years.
In the majority of the European countries the market share of Chinese travellers is still on a low level
(often less than 2 %) but increasing – further increase expected
Currently the Chinese market is still a niche market for almost all of the European countries, with market shares of often less than 2 % – there are only a few exceptions like Switzerland (5,3 %) or Germany (2,3 %). Still the impressive increase in arrivals is only one side of the medal, as the Chinese outbound market differs significantly from other source markets. One important peculiarity is the fact that Chinese are currently only allowed to travel to Europe as part of a group – the majority of Chinese tourists book a round-trip to Europe which allows them to visit as many countries as possible. As a consequence, the number of overnights by Chinese in a particular country is often much lower in comparison to other source markets (e.g. in Switzerland the average length of stay of Chinese tourists is only 1,3 days).
As the number of overnights is the more important tourism indicator it can be derived, that the Chinese outbound market currently does not play a significant role in the nationality mix of European countries. Still the Chinese outbound market is booming, Chinese tourists are known to be big spenders and sooner or later individual travel might be possible – all arguments that National Tourism Organizations, Destination Management Companies and individual entrepreneurs keep an eye on China and its development as a potential strong and important source market for the next decades.
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