COTRI is recognised by global media as one of the major sources for information about China’s outbound tourism. Articles written by COTRI’s director Prof. Arlt have been featured in newspapers like China Daily and trade magazines like Travel Weekly. COTRI is regularly quoted by CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, The Economist, Financial Times, International New York Times, South China Morning Post, etc., as well as by online and offline trade publications.

COTRI regularly sends media packages and press releases to partners in the media.

COTRI’s media packages contain a rich selection of insights on certain topics related to China outbound tourism trends and developments, and include graphs, statistics and other data that enable journalists to produce accurate, research-based reporting on Chinese outbound tourism.

In addition to the media packages, COTRI also provides press releases to keep media partners up to date with the latest news related to COTRI.

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Will the Chinese be too poor to travel outbound in 2023? No

China’s economy took a serious hit in 2022 and forecasts see after a GDP growth of just 3% in 2022 even a decline of around 1% for Q1 2023. Real estate prices continue to fall and new sales numbers moved south for 15 straight months. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Index fell by 15% during 2022.

The top 10% of the Chinese society, who are able to afford international travel and especially the 6-7% who can afford long-distance trips to other continents lost some of their wealth, which is the source of the travel budget (unlike the salary which pays for holidays in middle-class societies).

Does that mean that Chinese will not be able to afford international travel anymore? No.

Chinese customers will be a bit more careful with their spending and will insist on Value for Money more than before, luxury brands shopping will no longer be a main source of bragging power.

However, spending 10,000 USD or less on an overseas trip will still be affordable, regardless if your assets are worth 1.5 million or 1.3 million USD.

The main effect will be a reduction of the number of new customers able to climb up the ladder. Those who would have been for the first time able to afford a visit to Hong Kong, or those who would have been able to upgrade their destination choice from Thailand to Switzerland will see their dreams not coming true as fast as wished for due to budget restraints.

Bankrupt small business owners, families who spent all their money in desperate under the table purchases of medicine for dying parents and grandparents, graduates not finding a job after finishing university – they will all have to wait longer before they can join the club of international travellers.

Happy New Year to all my connections at LinkedIn and their families and friends and to all COTRI customers in 2023, looking for training, research and consultancy to restart their China business.

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The New China Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023 Forecasts 228 Million Chinese Travellers Per Year by 2030

A new handbook written for the global tourism industry expects Chinese outbound travel to recover quickly from the three-year pandemic hiatus. 

19 January 2023: The number of outbound trips made by Chinese citizens is expected to increase from 170 million in 2019 to reach 228 million in 2030, according to the new China Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023: 88 Practical Ways to Prepare for the New Wave of Chinese Visitors. The 200 million milestone of annual cross-border movements from China is likely to be breached in 2028 – 14 years after it reached the 100 million mark in 2014.

The China Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023: 88 Practical Ways to Prepare for the New Wave of Chinese Visitors is co-written by Wolfgang Georg Arlt and Gary Bowerman. It will be published as an e-book on 22 January 2023. 

The Handbook introduces the developmental drivers of the first 25 years of Chinese outbound tourism since it officially began in 1997, and assesses the outlook up to 2030. The main section is divided into 88 key themes that will influence the development of Chinese outbound travel throughout 2023 and beyond. 

Vital travel drivers discussed range from VFR and Business Travel to Family Trips and Student Travel. Niche segments featured include Winter Sports, Pop Culture Tourism, Self-drive & RVs, Adventure Travel and Weddings & Honeymoons. Consumer engagement strategies through Social Commerce, Mixed Reality and Metaverse Marketing, Virtual Idols and Livestreaming are covered. So, too are the latest developments in Duty-free Shopping, Chinese Brands, Camping & Glamping, Travel Fashion and Themed Hotel Staycations.

Each of the 88 segments features a quick-read summary at the beginning, a page of up-to-date commentary and three bullet-point takeaways at the end. These are directly applicable actions to help travel, tourism and hospitality businesses tailor their products and services as well as their marketing to meet the new needs and aspirations of Chinese travellers.

The China Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023 explores the dramatic changes within China over the past three years – and guides readers to view Chinese tourism through a new lens for an unfolding era of travel. It explores the emerging travel, technology, fashion, branding, retail, marketing and lifestyle trends in China during the pandemic. It discusses the diverse impacts of the Covid-Zero policy on travellers and travel businesses. The authors also provide practical advice and tips for travel industry players to enhance international travel and tourism experiences for Chinese tourists.

8 Quotes from the China Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023:

Some airports carefully planned for the regrowth of travel and a return of Chinese travellers. Other airports are less primed. This will be carefully noted by Chinese tourists, who research their trip routes in minute detail.” 

Smartphone apps drive everyday lifestyle choices. Expectations of tech-enabled convenience will surprise unprepared travel companies and destinations.”

Quality for money will be more important than before the pandemic. For a desirable travel product customised in the right way for the right market segment, Chinese visitors are still willing to pay premium prices.”

In the coming years, self-drive and RV tours will become a more visible part of the Chinese outbound market especially in countries with high levels of perceived road safety.”

Staycation innovation encouraged local residents to celebrate landmark events in style and offered enviable short-break experiences for guests during periods when inter-provincial travel was available.”

Special Interest could be a powerful tool to mitigate over-tourism and seasonality.”

Consumer trends in China’s fast-growing lower-tier cities are far from homogenous, and distinctive patterns of outbound travel will emerge from each one.”

Investment, creativity and innovation in night tourism culture will continue to increase. This is raising the expectations of Chinese tourists. In 2022, major cities noted that post-1990s tourists were staying out later and spending more into the early hours of the morning.”

Two Leading China Tourism Authorities

The China Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023 is written by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and Gary Bowerman. These two leading authorities count decades of experience in the field. They regularly interact with travel industry leaders in China, Asia and worldwide. Both are in-demand speakers at international tourism conferences, and are frequently interviewed by media organisations on all continents. They write and publish widely on Chinese and Asian travel developments, and research the developing travel and lifestyle trends across China and worldwide. Editorial support and artwork are provided by Mrs. Zheng Rong.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt FRGS FRAS has for 45 years worked across the Chinese travel market. His career includes 20 years as a tenured professor of International Tourism Management and as CEO of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), based in Hamburg. Providing training and consulting for companies and organisations worldwide, he recently added the Meaningful Tourism paradigm to the toolbox for the successful and sustainable development of tourism for Chinese and other source markets.

Gary Bowerman is Director of Check-in Asia, an Asia-focused travel consulting and consumer research firm, and Founder of Asia Travel Re:Set. He is an Asia Travel Analyst for Phocuswright, an Asia Consumer Trends Analyst for Mintel and a Senior Advisor to COTRI. He co-hosts The South East Asia Travel Show. Based in Kuala Lumpur, Gary works across China, Asia and globally with NTOs, hotels, OTAs, management consultancies, insurers, banks, consumer brands and market research firms. He lived in Shanghai from 2004-2010.


Editor Notes:

China Outbound Tourism Handbook 2023: 88 Practical Ways to Prepare for the New Wave of Chinese Visitors 

Published on 22 January 2023.

Price: EUR 25.00

ISBN: 978-3-944757-21-6


The Handbook is available at:


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