EDITORIAL: Autumn 2018 market update

Autumn 2018 issue of the COTRI Market Report examines latest trends and new developments in Chinese outbound tourism

by Christopher Ledsham, M.A.

The Autumn 2018 edition of the COTRI Market Report, released October 23rd, 2018, comes amidst a year of ongoing healthy growth for the Chinese outbound tourism market.

With the first half of the year having seen 80 million border crossings made around the world by Chinese passport holders, COTRI’s previously increased annual forecast for 2018 still stands at 160 million border crossings globally, which would see year-on-year growth climb back into double digits (10.3%).

Beyond the headline figures, a wide array of developments reveal greater insight into market trends. For example, the first half of 2018 has seen the opening of 50 new direct flight routes to Chinese cities from international destinations as diverse as Panama, Ireland and Bangladesh. Furthermore, the Chinese cities from which these flights are originating are both reflected the increasing diversity of the source market, while helping to fuel growth in outbound travel from lesser-known cities such as Jinghong, Yinchuan and Zhangjiajie.

Even among niche areas of the Chinese outbound travel market, the impact of wider trends are visible. Discussing Arctic travel among his Chinese customer base in the report, Albatros Travel China CEO Anders Ellemann Kristensen outlines the challenges that had to be overcome in order to be able to suitable satisfy visitors from China. In contrast to conventional Nordic travellers, Chinese Arctic tourists, he explains, tend to be younger and more engaged in the educational aspects of travel. Beyond customer-facing roles, he further emphasised the need to take a company-wide approach in adapting to working with Chinese customers, highlighting the need to “train and shape the Chinese office into a servicing unit that could reply questions and suggest solutions within a few hours”.

The report also contains up-to-date rankings of NTO and DMO WeChat accounts, a case study outlining Tourism Ireland’s prize-winning national training campaign and market knowledge supported by industry leaders Qyer and Ctrip.

For more information regarding the Autumn 2018 edition of the COTRI Market Report, see the COTRI Market Report section on the COTRI website.