Europe Still Winning Chinese Travelers’ Hearts & Wallets

France Remains Destination of Choice But Italy Tops In Tourist Spending

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Based on newly released research on the travel habits of Chinese tourists, Europe remains the most desired international destination for the country’s well-heeled travelers, and is the place where they spend the largest amount of money once they get there.

The number one overseas country of choice for Chinese tourists was France, according to the annual Hurun Report on “The Chinese Luxury Traveler,” which was released on Monday. The country retains its number one spot from last year, with the United States in second place. Half of the top 10 list is made up of European countries, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany.

Researchers also found that China’s wealthy travelers are making fewer visits abroad overall, but they are spending more money when they go. According to an article published Monday by Financial Times, China Confidential reports that Italy sees Chinese consumers’ highest average spending per destination, followed by Germany and France.

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The products being purchased by Chinese customers are also heavily Europe-centric, which possibly gives these countries the advantage in attracting travelers. According to Hurun, gifting is still the main reason for Chinese luxury shopping, and the two main gifts for men are watches and red wine, where countries such as Switzerland and France have a major advantage.

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To show that Chinese travelers are not a monolithic group, the Hurun survey also divided them by cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and first-tier and second- and third-tier cities. Europe was more popular among Beijing residents than those from Shanghai, and the United States actually beat France for the number one destination among second- and third-tier residents.

With the rise in spending power of second- and third-tier residents who prefer the United States, as well as growing U.S. efforts to court Chinese tourists, America may not be far behind Europe and could surpass it in coming years as the premier destination for China’s travelers. The country was the second most popular destination on the overall list, and was also the most popular among post-trip favorite locations (chart below), showing that romanticized notions of Europe may not be completely fulfilled once guests arrive.

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