HONG KONG: The number of Chinese tourists heading overseas will double to 200m by 2020 and their spending will triple according to a new report.
CLSA, the brokerage and investment group, surveyed 1,000 Chinese travellers across 41 cities to understand outbound travel demand, habits and spending patterns for its study, Chinese Tourists – Exploring New Frontiers. It found that 64% of respondents were interested in travelling overseas in the next 12 months and 67% intended to increase their travel budget.
The main driver of this enthusiasm for travel was increased incomes – per capita GDP now stands at $8,000 – but other factors played their part, including more annual leave and the easing of visa restrictions. CLSA also noted an overloaded domestic tourism infrastructure and a desire to escape the air pollution common in many Chinese cities.
Hong Kong and Macau are the top international travel destinations favoured by Chinese travellers, although their share of total numbers is expected to decline from 62% to 45%.
The cost of long-haul travel will mean Asian countries gain the greatest benefits from the surge in tourism, with Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore emerging as the top destinations in the next three years.
Further afield, the US and France were regularly cited as dream destinations and CLSA expected visitors to these two to grow between three and four times the current number.
"People say they want to go sightseeing or experience different cultures, but ultimately all they want to do is shop and gamble," Aaron Fischer, CLSA's head of consumer and gaming research, told CNBC.
Local specialties, cosmetics and apparel were the most purchased items, as the report said 80% of tourists bought from local specialty shops and close to 60% at downtown or airport duty free stores.
Whatever their ultimate desire, Fischer anticipated that Chinese tourists would become "increasingly savvy, independent and demand high quality experiences and service".
Some 40% of survey respondents indicated they planned to book their own flights and hotels and make their own subsequent arrangements in future. CLSA noted that would have significant implications for various sectors, including airlines, gaming, luxury goods, medical tourism, hotels, property and cruise ships.
Data sourced from CLSA, CNBC; additional content by Warc staff