According to a new forecast report from Timetric, Chinese outbound tourism is expected to rise from 45.8 million departures in 2012 to 77.6 million in 2017, at an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.12%. This optimistic outlook comes as China has seen a rising level of disposable income, falling unemployment, and expansion in air transport capacity to key outbound destinations.
Government ADS scheme hampers growth
However, despite overall optimism in China’s travel and tourism industry, bureaucratic obstacles and US quotas still hinder many Chinese people from travelling abroad. Chinese citizens must seek approval from the government before travelling abroad, and permission for trips to Europe and the US is very difficult to obtain, especially for leisure purposes. In order for countries to uptake Chinese tourists they must negotiate and implement China’s Approved Destination Status scheme (ADS). This scheme acts as a significant barrier to the growth of outbound tourism, as Chinese tourists are not permitted to visit countries without ADS status. The US also maintains rigid quotas that allow only a limited number of Chinese tourists to visit the country.
Asia remains the most popular tourist destination
According to the Timetric report, Asia is the primary tourist destination for Chinese outbound tourists, accounting for 84.8% of total Chinese outbound tourism in 2012. The most popular Asian countries are Macau, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. All of them countries approved by the ADS scheme. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of outbound tourists to Macau and South Korea increased at CAGRs of 20.88% and 16.18% respectively.
The Timetric report; ‘Travel and Tourism in China to 2017’ was published on the 12th July 2013.