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Chinese tourism in Europe continues to boom but the traveller profile is evolving

Chinese tourism in Europe continues to boom but the traveller profile is evolving

New market insights show that Chinese travel demand to Europe remains strong but the preferences of Chinese travellers are changing: a community of semi-independent travellers has emerged who are more likely to go off the beaten track and explore lesser-known destinations.

These market data, analysis and promotion recommendations for Chinese outbound tourism to Europe were presented jointly by representatives from Tencent Culture and Tourism Industry and Trip.com Group at a press event hosted by the European Travel Commission (ETC) in Beijing on 5 December 2019.

The number of users booking European travel products through Trip.com Group from 2015 to 2019 increased by more than 30% year on year. Although traditionally popular destination countries still dominate – the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Turkey each had over 20 million of the overall 400 million searches for trips to Europe – emerging destination countries show a significant growth trend. For example, in the first half of 2019, more than ten countries in Europe were amongst the destinations with the largest increase in Chinese tourists, including Croatia (with more than a 100% increase year on year), Latvia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Serbia, Malta, Ireland and Denmark.

It was also noted that Chinese consumers take longer to make the decision to come to Europe than to the popular destinations in Asia. Destination promotion will therefore require investment and time.

Additionally, the event provided an opportunity for six Chinese travel bloggers to share their holiday experiences in Europe and recommend their favourite lesser-known destinations. They also presented their perspectives on car trips in Europe and contacts with local citizens in various European countries.

Speaking at the event Ludivine Destrée, Chair of ETC’s China Chapter, said that the emergence of the semi-independent Chinese traveller reflects ETC’s new marketing approach which focuses more on the meaningful experiences that today’s travellers are seeking.

The event, which was attended by more than 50 partners and media representatives, was successful in further promoting travel ties between China and Europe. Although the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year is now over, the ongoing cooperation between ETC and its Chinese partners should bring better tourist services and tourism policies to Chinese tourists.

Indeed this was one of the objectives of an MoU signed in September by ETC and Tencent. It also seeks to promote knowledge exchanges and data sharing as well as create opportunities to collaborate on research into tourism trends and deliver solutions to foster sustainable development of tourism in Europe.