Monitoring the Rapidly-Growing Chinese Travel Market amidst the 2018 EU-CHINA Tourism Year

In the framework of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year, the European Travel Commission (ETC) will monitor Chinese air traveller trends and evaluate destination performances of 34 countries* in Europe. The findings are based on global air reservation data from ForwardKeys, which monitors 17 million booking transactions a day.  ETC’s research provides a detailed picture of the social and macroeconomic environment to help Europe’s tourism industry tap into the high potential of the Chinese outbound travel market.

The findings of the first report indicate that Chinese tourism to Europe is increasing. In the first four months of this year, Chinese arrivals in Europe were up 9.5% on the equivalent period last year and forward bookings for the period May-August are currently 7.9% ahead. These numbers show Europe to be gaining market share from the rest of the world, as the comparable worldwide figures for Chinese arrivals are 6.9% up for the first four months and 6.2% ahead for May-August.

The top destinations, in size order, are, Germany, up 7.9% and France, up 11.4%. In terms of growth, the stand out destinations were Turkey, up 74.1%, Ukraine, up 27% and Hungary, up 15.2% and current bookings for the May-August period are even more promising with Turkey ahead 203.6%, Ukraine ahead 38.4% and Hungary ahead 24.8%.

Looking at current bookings for the main summer months of July and August, Europe as a whole is 13.3% ahead. France is set to overtake Germany for the no.2 spot, with bookings running 29.2% ahead of last year. In terms of growth, Central & Eastern Europe steals the show, with bookings currently 32.5% ahead of last year. It is followed by Southern Europe, 28.5% ahead, Western Europe 18.4% ahead and Northern Europe 4.7% ahead.

Current Chinese bookings for Russia, during the world Cup finals are generally well ahead of last year but there is an extraordinary peak during the week of 14th June, which coincides with Dragon Boat Weekend, when bookings are 173% ahead! There is also a trough during the week of 12th July, coinciding with the World Cup final, when bookings are 17% behind.