30.2 Million Chinese Outbound Trips in the First Quarter of 2016: COTRI Publishes its Own Cross-Border Arrival Figures for the First Time
- Posted by Newsdesk
- On 24th May 2016
- Arrival Numbers, china, CNTA, Statistics, tourism
“In 2015, more than 120 million person-time Chinese people travelled abroad” declared Li Keqiang, Premier of the People's Republic of China, during his speech at the opening ceremony of the first World Conference on Tourism for Development on May 20th, 2016 in Beijing. This is the latest version of the number-guessing game which has seen official announcements of different total numbers and increases in percentages for 2015 and previous years in the last six months. For 2016 no official outbound travel numbers have been published at all in China.
Accordingly, COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute has begun to publish its own figures for quarterly border-crossings from Mainland China for the first time. These calculations are based on extensive research using available information from host countries - in combination with statistics from within China - and take a wide range of factors into account, including possible double-counting in Schengen Area countries as well as differences between travellers’ nationality and country of residence.
In the first three months of 2016, 30.2 million outbound border-crossings were made from Mainland China . This figure, drawn from COTRI’s internal calculations, represents an increase of only 2.4% from the 29.5 million made during the same period in 2015. This is the lowest growth rate reported since the beginning of outbound tourism from China in 1997 and the first single-digit growth rate in the current decade.
The surprisingly small year-on-year average growth rate of 2.4% calculated for the first quarter of 2016 masks two very different trends:
The arrival numbers for Hong Kong fell dramatically by 15% from 12.3 million to 10.4 million and slipped in Macau by 2% from 5.0 million to 4.9 million, resulting in an overall decrease of 11% for China’s Special Administrative Regions (SARs) in Q1 2016.
In the rest of the world, however, this loss of almost two million arrivals was cancelled out by an increase of about the same amount of the combined arrival figures for Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan and the UAE. Given the strong increases in arrivals from China for many countries especially in Europe and North America, it is possible to calculate a growth rate of 22% for the rest of the world, resulting in an overall growth rate of 2.4%.
The market share of the Hong Kong and Macau SARs fell from 59% to 51%. With the negative trend for Hong Kong and Macau likely to continue, the second quarter of 2016 will most likely be the first time that the SARs are no longer responsible for more than half of all departures from Mainland China.
Even within these averages, there are two different hidden stories: two thirds of the missing arrivals in Hong Kong were not leisure visitors but day trippers, a result of the restrictions on small “ant” traders who used to cross daily from Shenzhen into Hong Kong to take advantage of the lower prices of consumer goods in the SAR. Some Chinese nationals were also living in Shenzhen yet working in Hong Kong, again crossing the border on working days. In Macau the number of overnight visitors even increased by about 100,000 in the first quarter of 2016, while day tripper arrivals fell by about 200,000.
COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute provides expert insights into the worldwide developments of China’s outbound tourism market. As Chinese outbound tourists are travelling to a large range of destinations, our publications cover a number of different regions. Important Chinese visitor activities are analysed, and detailed insights are presented.
With COTRI’s insights you can create a successful business strategy with in-depth market insights, comprehensive qualitative analyses, and future prospects. The recently published Spring 2016 Edition of the COTRI Market Report features in-depth analysis of the developing trends in Chinese outbound tourism, supported by a wealth of qualitative and quantitative statistical research.
See also: COTRI Director Prof. Dr. Arlt’s Forbes.com blog: “30.2 Million Chinese Outbound Trips In The First Quarter of 2016”.