Chinese Tourists set a Record in 2016
If you’ve traveled to any place in the world that could be considered a tourist destination, then you’ve heard it. The sound of the air brakes letting out some pressure as the bus comes to a stop. Then… you hear it. The hoards of Chinese tourists, cameras in hand, ready to come and “consume” tourism. It’s no surprise that Chinese tourists set a record in 2016 for the most money spent on tourism, worldwide.
Chinese tourists spent over $261 BILLION on tourism outside of their own country in 2016, and that set a record for worldwide tourism.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization showed that last year, over 135 million Chinese tourists left China last year, which was a 15% increase year over year.
The top three destinations were, not surprisingly, Japan, Korea, and Thailand, but the US and Europe were right behind.
In terms of people travelling abroad and money spent, the US was #2 with $122 billion. That’s less than half of what China spent on tourism in the year alone.
Top 10 Markets For Outbound Tourist Spending in 2016
|Rank||Country||Spending ($U.S.)||% Growth Over 2015|
|10||Hong Kong||$24 billion||5%|
We went to Barcelona last year and noted that it was completely overrun by Chinese tourists and tourism companies. The same thing happened in Greece and even, to a smaller extent, to our trip in Morocco last year.
Consuming Tourism vs Enjoying a Location
What we’ve seen over the past few years, and confirmed by talking to a lot of tour directors, is that the majority of these tour groups coming from abroad seem to come to “consume” the locations and “consume” tourism. Consumption in the sense of: The bus rolls up, people get out, they take a few photos, a couple of selfies, and then get back on the bus to head to the next destination. While we’ve been guilty of that a few times, what we’re doing now is slowing down, taking our time, and trying to get to know the locations more than just passing through.