Chinese Tourists to Spend Over $45 Billion in Asia-Pacific Region for 2016

While outbound Chinese tourists may love the idea of taking a romantic stroll in Paris or Rome, a new report finds that brands trying to reach a majority of them should still look to Asia.

A total of 50.4 million Chinese tourists are expected to have headed to Asian destinations by the end of this year, according to the newly MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index. The dominant nationality of international tourists in the Asia-Pacific region since 2012, they’re predicted to spend US$45.3 billion while traveling in Asian countries and take up 15.7 percent of total international arrivals in the region.

As more Chinese travelers head abroad every year, many are opting to stay close to home—the number of their arrivals in Asia-Pacific countries has grown an average of 25.9 percent annually since 2009.

“In the past few years, the mix of tourists in key Asia-Pacific destinations has changed significantly, reflecting the economic rise of China and other emerging Asian economies,” says Matthew Driver, MasterCard’s executive vice president of global products & solutions for Asia Pacific. “Where you might have found tourists from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United States, you are now much more likely to come across travelers from mainland China.”

“The impact of the economic transformation of China and specifically the rise in disposable incomes is the biggest driver of tourism growth globally. While we are expecting similar growth from India and Indonesia in the longer term, as well as other segments such as halal tourism, Chinese tourists are more concentrated in Asia and impact markets at a larger scale.”

The report predicts that Bangkok will dominate other Asian cities in attracting the most outbound Chinese tourists with a total of 8.2 million arrivals from China by the end of 2016. As South Korea and Japan remain top shopping destinations, Seoul (5.2 million) and Tokyo (2.7 million) are expected to follow in second and third place. Thailand is massively popular overall, with Phuket and Pattaya coming in next at 2.5 million and 2.1 million respectively. Singapore is in seventh place at 1.8 million, while Bali is in 10th at 1.4 million.

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Destinations, Travel