The growth in the middle class has seen 145 million Chinese people spread their wings and travel to destinations overseas over the past year.
This is according to researches from the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, which further attributed the growing interest in international travel on incentive marketing by host countries.
Out of these millions of travelers, majority were young people who “like to seek deeper experience in destinations,” said Larry Yu, professor of Management at the George Washington University.
An expert on the global hospitality and tourism industry, Yu said: “It’s part of a lifestyle of those younger generations.”
The surging interest in international travel by Chinese tourists stimulates the economy not only domestically, but also internationally,” he said.
“China has transformed its travel industry successively in the past, moving for more traditional services to some very innovative online travel services,” Yu said, adding that Chinese tourism is now pushing forward the international tourism industry.
Atop the list of destinations for Chinese travelers are European countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain, said Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association.
“It (Chinese travel) represents about 85 percent of the volume at the moment,” Jenkins said, adding that “people are getting deeper into the culture of Europe.”
Canada and the US are also favorites due to simpler visa processes, said David Becker, CEO at Attract China who has set his focus on increasing Chinese tourism to North America. He also mentioned that the changes Chinese tourists bring to US and Canada are “extraordinarily important.”
Moreover, this is not just the business of the global economy and tourism industry, but also relates to intercultural communication.
Jenkins said that the two destinations Chinese visitors prefer are “slightly atypical.” One is recreational experience bringing visitors to farms and specific craft works, and the other one is “much more focused on shopping.”
“Chinese tourists are also equally intrigued to be staying at an Airbnb or to interview a ranger in a national park,” said Jenkins.
Becker shared his sentiments, saying charming intercultural exchange helped people better understand the world. Chinese tourists, he said, took the cultural experiences back to their personal lives.
However, host countries still need to be well-prepared for the international tide Chinese tourists raise.
China is building more airports and investing in international airlines to adapt to the boosting industry.
“There is continued improvement in infrastructure to accommodate domestic travel and expansion of the airports built in some regional cities,” Yu said.
Becker explained that social media and modern technology could be used by host countries so that they are “China-friendly and China ready.”
He thought that destinations should implement WeChat pay and Alipay to welcome Chinese visitors.
Still, Jenkins suggested Europe upgrade the level of service.
“Europe has got to match that level of service ... give value for money that the visitors expect to receive when they go on holiday,” he said.