China’s outbound tourism grows, but trips to US see first decline in 15 years

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/30 18:23:40

Chinese tourist numbers to the US are declining for the first time in 15 years, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office under the US Department of Commerce.

Travel from China to the US dropped by 5.7 percent to 2.9 million in 2018, the data showed, indicating the first negative year-on-year growth since 2003. 

Chinese outbound tourists reached 141.72 million in 2018, up 14.7 percent over the same period of 2017, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism's official data showed in February. 

The digital era is giving Chinese tourists more destination options, and as a result, tourism offices are facing more competition to win a share of revenue from middle - and high-income Chinese tourists.  

For example, using WeChat official accounts, Chinese users can quickly look up details of their next destinations. Many tourism bureaus have created their own accounts for promotion, events and on-site experience to attract more Chinese visitors.  

More and more Chinese tourists prefer shorter cross border trips, business insiders said. Lesser known destinations such as Croatia, Morocco and Nepal are especially popular. 

The top 10 popular destinations for Chinese tourists include such countries as Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, with the US ranked ninth in 2018. 

Destinations with rapidly growing Chinese visitor numbers for 2018 were Serbia, Laos, Belgium, Vietnam, Sweden, Turkey, Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Finland, according to a 2018 Chinese tourists outbound travel report published by the Beijing-based China Tourism Academy. 

In 2018, about 71.25 million Chinese people traveled overseas, showing that the potential for the overseas tourism market is still huge, the report said.

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