Chinese tourists are going for European destinations amid tension of trade war with the US

Published on : Thursday, May 16, 2019

Amid trade war, Chinese tourists are leaving out the United States and opting for more welcoming destinations in Europe, according to Jane Sun, the CEO of Asia’s largest online travel platform Ctrip.


When the China-US trade war started last year, there was a decline in Chinese tourists travelling to the US during China’s October golden week holiday in the fourth quarter, which eased when the two countries made progress in their trade talks, said Sun said in an interview.


Ctrip said that the US went down to the tenth spot in the list of China’s top overseas destinations in the week-long holiday in 2018 from fifth position the previous year. In the recently-ended Labour Day holiday in early May, the US ranked as the ninth most popular travel destination for Chinese tourists, going down from fifth spot last year. Thailand and Japan remained the top choices for Chinese holidaymakers.


Chinese tourists are opting for European countries such as Italy and the UK because they feel welcomed.


“People like to travel to countries that welcome them,” Sun said. “When Chinese consumers have the buying power, if they are not going to the US then they are going to the UK, Europe, Australia or New Zealand … they’ll find an alternative. The US really needs to be very careful if it wants to attract affluent travellers.”


Globally, China is the largest outbound travel market in terms of numbers and expenditures, and Chinese tourists are expected to make 160 million overseas trips by 2020 and spend over US$315 billion next year.


One of the biggest recent beneficiaries of the Chinese tourism boom has been Croatia, which saw more than fourfold increase in visitors during the May holiday this year with fans of the immensely popular fantasy TV show Game of Thrones flocked to the show’s filming location. Malta and Iceland too, which are also featured in the show, saw the number of Chinese tourists rise 300% and 140%, respectively over the Labour Day holiday.

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