Thriving outbound tourism is showing the positive impact of "tourism diplomacy", a joint annual tourism repeat by the China Tourism Academy and UnionPay International has shown.
Chinese outbound tourism has grown large enough to be used as diplomatic leverage
The Annual Report of China Outbound Tourism Development 2015 released at a press conference held in Beijing details the development of China’s outbound tourism industry in 2014 from the perspective of development environment, market conditions and regional characteristics and offers insightful analysis and official predictions for the future of the market.
China’s outbound tourism industry passed the 100 million trip milestone in 2014, with annual traffic at 107 million trips, up 19.49% compared with 2013. The outbound volume made China the largest market worldwide for the second consecutive year.
The report however points that China’s outbound tourism industry is still in its infancy, though transitioning from the experimental stage to maturity at this point, as China’s outbound traveler pool is still concentrated in the major cities in the eastern regions, and the majority of traffic headed to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, indicating that the scale of the market in proportion to the national proportion is considered and ralatively smaller than developed countries and even other BRICS nations. Shopping remains the main purpose for travel.
The report also points out the growth of China’s outbound tourism market and consumer spending power is driving the change in the development environment, as overseas destinations place increasing emphasis on ensuring fair treatment of Chinese tourists and destination countries are also actively using diplomacy to secure advantages as destinations for Chinese tourists.
By the end of 2014, 117 destination countries were receivng tour groups from China, underscoring the positive effect the growth of China’s outbound tourism market has had on the nation’s diplomatic relations and the clout of its “tourism diplomacy”.
China’s continued socio-economic development has helped its outbound tourism industry achieve rapid growth in outbound traffic, estimated to grow more than 16% in 2015. Partnerships formed under the State’s “one belt one road” transport infrastructure initiative and the inauguration of the China-Korea tourism year, China-India tourism year and China-Middle East tourism year will help boost outbound tourism to the partner regions.
The report also addresses the State’s action on promoting civilized tourism behavior especially in regards to educating the general population who have access to increasingly easy and frequent travel options.
China’s recent boom in outbound tourism and ballooning overseas expenditure by Chinese tourists has become a heated topic of discussion internationally and domestically. Outbound tourism not only reflects China's "soft power" and but also forms a solid foundation for the State’s “one belt one road” strategy and its newly launched Asia Infrastructure Development Bank.
The China National Tourism Administration has predicted that Chinese tourists will make 150 million trips to countries along "one belt one road" plan, and the tourists are projected to spend US$200 billion during the Chinese Communist Party’s 13th five year plan.(Translation by David)