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Marketing to Chinese Tourists Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Marketing to Chinese Tourists market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Ice and snow amaze Chinese consumers
  • What do parents with kids expect from an outbound trip?
  • Create online popularity for destinations via short videos

Covered in this report

This report covers both domestic and outbound travel taken by Chinese tourists. The consumer research focuses only on the outbound segment. The term “travel” used in this report refers to leisure travel unless otherwise stated. Medical tourism is beyond the scope of this report. “Outbound travel” refers to travel outside mainland China, ie destinations including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and foreign countries. Domestic travel refers to travelling in mainland China. Frequent travellers are defined as consumers travelling to outbound destinations three times or more in a 12-month period. Post-90s refer to consumers who are surveyed.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Saskia Zhao, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Shopping cannot strongly motivate consumers to visit an outbound destination. Travel service providers can leverage cultural discovery, local experience, food and amusement parks to attract Chinese consumers. Saskia Zhao
Lifestyles Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Domestic segment maintains steady growth
              • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast volume of domestic segment, by person-time, China, 2018-23
            • Outbound segment enters market maturity
              • Figure 2: Best- and worst-case forecast volume of outbound segment, person-time, China, 2018-23
              • Figure 3: Popular outbound destinations, China, 2014-18
            • The consumer
              • Families with kids are important consumers
                • Figure 4: Outbound travel frequency in the last 12 months, November 2018, China
              • Shopping is not enough to motivate outbound travel
                • Figure 5: Triggers for outbound travel, November 2018, China
              • OTA websites are the most consulted channels
                • Figure 6: Information channel for outbound travel, November 2018, China
              • Duty free is the top choice for outbound shopping
                • Figure 7: Top three shopping channels, November 2018, China
              • Store ambience and service are more important than low price
                • Figure 8: Triggers to store visit, November 2018, China
              • Consumers like reading travel guides and exploring somewhere new to them
                  • Figure 9: Attitudes towards outbound travel, November 2018, China
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • What do parents with kids expect from an outbound trip?
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Figure 10: Airbnb 2018 winter season banner ad on its Chinese homepage
                        • Figure 11: Paternity research study travel by Tuniu
                        • Figure 12: Ocean dreams activity by S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore
                      • Create online popularity for destinations via short videos
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                              • Figure 13: Weibo page for short video reality show Better Life – Travel in Seychelles
                            • Ice and snow amaze Chinese consumers
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                    • Figure 14: Seafood Overflow Festival at Tomamu ski resort, Japan, Winter 2018-19
                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                  • Outbound market returns to double-digit growth
                                    • Japan and Thailand are most visited outbound destinations
                                      • More favourable visa policies will encourage outbound travel
                                      • Market Size, Segment and Forecast

                                        • Travel market size is dominated by domestic segment
                                          • Figure 15: Travel market size by number of travellers, person-time, China, 2014-18
                                        • Five-year outlook
                                          • Domestic segment
                                            • Figure 16: Best- and worst-case forecast volume of domestic segment, person-time, China, 2018-23
                                          • Outbound segment
                                            • Figure 17: Best- and worst-case forecast volume of outbound segment, person-time, China, 2018-23
                                            • Figure 18: Popular outbound destinations, person-time, China, 2014-18
                                        • Market Factors

                                          • High willingness to travel
                                            • Favourable visitor visa policies simplify travel preparation
                                              • Figure 19: Visa policy changes in 2017-18
                                            • Tailored marketing to Chinese consumers
                                              • Figure 20: Tourism Thailand on Douyin, China
                                              • Figure 21: Tourist attractions mentioned in the campaign Let’s take a break in Thailand, 2018
                                            • Currency exchange rates influence travel decisions
                                              • More international air routes
                                                • Environmentally-conscious tourism
                                                  • Safety concerns impede travel
                                                    • Rude treatment hurts confidence in travel
                                                    • Who is Innovating?

                                                      • Use learning to differentiate products
                                                        • Figure 22: Key policy regarding study travel, China
                                                        • Figure 23: Selected study travel products, China
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Young families are frequent outbound travellers
                                                        • Post-90s prefer visa-free destinations
                                                          • Less than half of post-70s compare prices on different channels
                                                            • Short video becomes an information source for travel
                                                              • Duty free is the top outbound shopping venue
                                                              • Outbound Travel Frequency

                                                                • Consumers taking overseas leisure holidays more often
                                                                  • Figure 24: Outbound travel frequency in the last 12 months, November 2018, China
                                                                • Families with children are core leisure travellers
                                                                  • Figure 25: Leisure outbound travel frequency in the last 12 months, by family type, November 2018, China
                                                                • More market opportunities in South and East China
                                                                  • Figure 26: Leisure travel frequency in the last 12 months, by region, November 2018, China
                                                                • Who could be more sophisticated outbound travellers?
                                                                    • Figure 27: Travel frequency – Business plus leisure, by age group, November 2018, China
                                                                • Drivers to Travelling Abroad

                                                                  • Many factors outweigh shopping
                                                                    • Figure 28: Triggers for outbound travel, November 2018, China
                                                                  • Make it unique
                                                                    • Figure 29: National travel pavilions on Fliggy*
                                                                  • With three features, almost 90% of travellers can be reached
                                                                    • Figure 30: Trigger to outbound travel – TURF Analysis – November 2018, China
                                                                  • Females and young travellers pay more attention to food
                                                                    • Figure 31: Trigger for outbound travel – Delicious food, by demographic, November 2018, China
                                                                • Source of Inspiration

                                                                  • OTA websites are still the default choice
                                                                    • Figure 32: Information channel for outbound travel, November 2018, China
                                                                  • From texts to images and short videos
                                                                    • Professional and specialised information is key
                                                                      • Using three channels to cover 90% of consumers
                                                                        • Figure 33: Information channels – TURF Analysis – November 2018, China
                                                                    • Popular Shopping Venues

                                                                      • Nine in ten have shopped while travelling abroad
                                                                        • Figure 34: Incidence of shopping when travelling abroad, by demographic, November 2018, China
                                                                      • Duty free is the top popular shopping channel
                                                                        • Figure 35: Top three shopping channels, November 2018, China
                                                                      • Tourists from North and East China favour outlets
                                                                        • Figure 36: Overseas shopping channel – Outlet, by region, November 2018, China
                                                                      • Young people tend to visit brand stores for affordable beauty products
                                                                        • Figure 37: Lancôme official account on Xiaohongshu
                                                                    • Triggers to Store Visit

                                                                      • Store ambience and services most important
                                                                        • Figure 38: Triggers to store visit, November 2018, China
                                                                      • Product range is as important as price
                                                                        • Figure 39: Timberland advertisement on Ctrip
                                                                      • Local specialty products represent foreign culture
                                                                        • Alipay and WeChat are must-haves if stores want to attract younger consumers
                                                                          • Figure 40: Top five triggers to store visit, by age group, November, 2018, China
                                                                          • Figure 41: Top banner ad of Alipay for business, 2018
                                                                      • Attitudes towards Travelling

                                                                        • Mobile apps make travelling flexible
                                                                          • Figure 42: Attitudes towards outbound travel, China, November 2018
                                                                      • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                        • Mintropolitans travel more often and more frequently
                                                                          • Figure 43: Outbound travel frequency – Leisure travel, by consumer classification, November 2018, China
                                                                        • Theme parks appeal more to MinTs, likely driven by family travellers
                                                                          • Figure 44: Top five triggers for outbound travel, by consumer classification, November 2018, China
                                                                        • Travel guides and travel magazines have the biggest gap
                                                                          • Figure 45: Information channels for outbound travel, by consumer classification, November 2018, China
                                                                        • MinTs are more likely to shop at outlets
                                                                          • Figure 46: Popular shopping places – Outlet, by consumer classification, China, November 2018
                                                                        • MinTs care about big discounts and store location
                                                                        • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                          • Methodology
                                                                            • Fan chart forecast
                                                                              • Abbreviations