EUROPE: INBOUND TRAVEL TRENDS

Chinese dragon “breathing hotter than ever” in Europe

The ETOA forecasts a “possible” huge hike in Chinese visitors to Europe next year, supported by data from ForwardKeys, who state the boom in Chinese outbound travel is set to continue unabated.

Laurens van den Oever, ForwardKeys’ Chief Marketing Officer, who was speaking at the World Bridge Tourism conference in London, said: “The Chinese dragon is breathing more hotly than ever. Bookings for outbound travel during Chinese New Year, in February 2018, are currently 40% ahead of where they were at the same time last year.”

World Bridge Tourism is a project supported by the European Union, in order to increase the flows of visitors from China to the EU. World Bridge Tourism Shanghai was held in conjunction with ITB China on the 9th-10th May 2017 and World Bridge Tourism London took place alongside the Global European Marketplace on the 2nd-3rd November. The programme combined a conference and a B2B workshop between tourism-related EU companies (particularly SMEs) and Chinese operators.

LOOKING AT CHINA (…)

BOOKINGS FOR NEXT YEAR, DURING THE GOLDEN WEEK, LOOK LIKE THEY’RE GOING TO BE WAY UP – MAYBE 40% YEAR- ON-YEAR.

The project was supported by an extensive programme of research and webinars aimed at increasing the understanding of the needs of Chinese visitors within the European tourism community. World Bridge Tourism is the curtain raiser for the “2018 EU– China Tourism Year”, during which an unprecedented level of attention will be paid to the growing importance of China as an origin market, and the changing preferences and behaviour patterns of Chinese visitors.

Alongside WBT, GEM, the European tourism association’s member-exclusive B2B networking event, matching tourism suppliers with global, European and domestic tour operators facilitated 20,000 one on one meetings, 30% more than in 2016. This was due to an injection of one hundred tour operator buyers from China who were in London as part of the World Bridge Tourism project.

ETOA CEO, Tom Jenkins, said the combination of GEM and World Bridge Tourism brought together “the most potent group of professional tourism buyers we have ever hosted”, adding, “Together they represent over UK£12 bn of expenditure on hospitality, transport, visitor attractions and other goods and services consumed by tourists.”

Demand for Europe is rising in all the core origin markets – not just China, says the ETOA CEO: “When you look at the USA, which is obviously the engine for European inbound tourism, gures are up between 10% and 15% for the next year. Looking at China, which is a more volatile market, bookings for next year, during the Golden week, look like they’re going to be way up – maybe 40% year-on-year. Anything could happen between now and then, and this is not the main booking period. China is becoming a notoriously late booking market”.


Photo: Tom Jenkins, CEO, ETOA.