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Chinese Outbound Travel Consumption in 2019

A new study conducted by UnionPay International and China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip, has given insights into Chinese outbound travel consumption for the year 2019. The report highlights China’s growing desire and demand for tourism as well as trends in outbound consumption.

Key Takeaways

One of the key takeaways from the study shows that there were 10% more female outbound travellers than male. On the contrary, average expenditure per person of male travellers is higher than their female counterparts. There has also been a steady growth in outbound tourists from second- and third-tier Chinese cities.

Interestingly, people born in the 2000s are following the global trend of increased solo travel. While the younger generation during their travels consider, for example, mobile payment services as essential, elderly visitors give more value to information. Overall, Chinese travellers visited over 150 countries and regions.

Chinese solo Traveller


Chinese travellers are showing an increasingly diversified travel consumption behaviour. On their travels, they tend to include accommodation, tour guides, sightseeing spots, transportation, as well as local performances and entertainment activities. Indeed, the Chinese outbound travel market cares significantly about hospitality and dining. A massive 80% of travellers stay at high-end (five-star) hotels.

Luxury hotel for Chinese Tourists

Money spent on Food & Beverage in regions such as the South Pacific and the Middle East saw an increase of around 60%. Likewise, a substantial growth in online bookings for entertainment and attractions was reported. Total travel expenditure by Chinese outbound tourists in the first half of 2019 reached USD $127.5 billion.

In terms of information sought after, specific travel sections within the UnionPay app are increasingly popular as they provide users with guidance on special offers, currency exchange rates, tax refunds and more.

Top Destinations

Destinations across Europe, the United States and Australia remained top favorites for the Chinese market. There was also substantial growth noted in visitor numbers to countries such as Belarus, Myanmar, Georgia and Nepal. These countries from part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). For the first time, such countries are showing a heightened popularity.

Chinese Travellers in Europe

This global development strategy, adopted by the Chinese government, involves infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organisations in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. The bid aims to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future.