A big data report on Chinese tourists traveling to Europe in the first half of 2019 reveals a 7.4% rise over 2018.

The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute and Ctrip have jointly released the “Big Data Report on Chinese Tourists to Europe in the First Half of 2019.”

The report analyses the big data of millions of vacation products on Ctrip’s travel platform, combined with that of more than 7,000 Ctrip stores in major cities, along with European travel data from the Huacheng International Travel Group, China’s leading outbound travel operator.

According to data released by the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, the number of Chinese visitors to Europe in 2018 exceeded 6 million. With favourable policies on visas, flights, exchange rates and consumer services to Europe, China’s travel to Europe will, says the survey, continue to grow in 2019. In the first half of this year, the number of outbound tourists from China was expected to be about 81.29 million, up 14% from the previous year, with 3 million trips to Europe, up 7.4%, according to COTRI.

According to Huacheng, the number of people booking a trip to Europe in the first half of 2019 grew by 12.3% year-on-year. Ctrip travel data shows that Europe is the second most popular destination for Chinese tourists, accounting for 10%, second only to Asia.

In the first half of 2019, according to Ctrip travel data, the top 10 “dark horse” destinations were Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Albania, Serbia, Malta, Ireland and Denmark, with the number of Chinese visitors to Croatia up 540% year-on-year in the first half. Andorra, Monaco and the Transcaucasian countries, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, located in the heart of Eurasia, are also becoming popular destinations for Chinese tourists, according to booking data.

The top ten popular source cities are Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Xi’an, Nanjing and Wuhan, the top ten black horse starting cities are Guiyang, Shenyang, Qingdao, Hefei, Taiyuan, Nanning, Hangzhou, Changchun, Dalian and Nanchang; among them, the number of Guiyang tourists visiting Europe in the first half of this year increased by 526% year-on-year.

In terms of exchange rate, currencies of Iceland, Norway, Hungary, Sweden, Russia and the UK have fallen more in summer than in the same period last year, according to Ctrip’s latest “Exchange Rate Travel Rankings” released on August 7th, and make these the most cost-effective overseas destinations in recent times. Ctrip data shows that this summer, when it comes to group tours, free travel, custom tours and other products, visitors to Norway and Iceland increased by 84% and 60% year-on-year, respectively. The number of visitors to Russia and the UK increased by 34%.

In the first half of the year, a number of new routes to Europe were opened, with direct flights from Shanghai to Budapest, Shenzhen to Dublin, Beijing to Oslo, Shenzhen direct flights to Rome, Hangzhou to Rome, Chengdu direct flights to Rome, Guangzhou-Urumchi-Vienna and other routes to be opened, making it easier for Chinese tourists to travel to Europe.

As this year is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Hungary, Huacheng International Travel Group launched the Shanghai-Budapest project direct flight project from June 7.

In the first half of 2019, according to the analysis of the gender and age of tourists, the proportion of women visiting Europe was 62.9% and the proportion of men was 37.1%. The total number of visitors in their 50s and 60s exceeded 50%, with 12.7% over 70 years of age.

The “new group tour” quality tourism era is coming, with the number of customised tours to Europe increasing by 315% year-on-year. The growth in the number of private groups doubled, with the average number of participants being 3.2 people. The number of people signing up for private group tours in Europe has been increasing year by year. Data shows that the number of visitors to Europe who signed up for private group products increased by 120% year-on-year, and the number of private group visitors to Europe accounted for 5% of the total number of visitors to Europe.

In the first half of this year, the top 10 cities from which travellers were registering for private trips to Europe were Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Zhengzhou, Xiamen and Suzhou, while the top 10 popular destinations were the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Iceland, Germany and the Czech Republic.  The number of tourists who signed up for custom tours to Europe accounted for 8% of the total number of visitors to Europe. The top European custom tour themes are: travel, history and culture, nature, fashion art, fairy-tale tours, hiking, research, aurora, cruise ships, hot springs and skiing.

With the rapid growth of direct flights, more and more tourists choose to book their own transportation, travel abroad and participation in local tours. The report shows that the number of tourists who signed up for local tours reached 10% of Ctrip’s outbound travel products. In the first half of 2019, the number of people who signed up for local tours of Europe increased by 25% year-on-year.