Chinese Travel en Masse During 'Golden Week', Retailers Preparing

Retail and Consumer Confidence
06/10/2016 12:38

The Chinese National Day holiday period - also known as Golden Week - started October 1 and runs until October 7. It is the most important period after Chinese New Year in terms of the number of Chinese travelers, writes Jing Daily. This year, China’s Golden Week is set to break new records in tourism and retail spending, as over 750 million people go traveling, with over 4 million Chinese travelers venturing abroad." With China experiencing what is referred to as 'the democratization of international travel' (global travel was a luxury in China until just a few years ago; it has become more convenient with improving visa policies, better air connections, and competition, making it more affordable; the Chinese middle class is also growing by the millions, and the number of routes connecting China’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities with attractive international destinations are growing), Daniel Meesak of Jing Daily examines some major destinations and strategies:

  • United States: "During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States in early 2016, the U.S.-China Tourism Year was launched in an attempt to boost travel and cultural exchange between China and the United States. This has resulted in strengthened U.S. marketing efforts in the Chinese market that are likely to pay dividends during China’s Golden Week. Chinese visits to the United States increased 22% in 2015; a new 10-year US visa offered to Chinese nationals has served as an engine for further growth in 2016."
  • Hong Kong: It is still a key destination for Chinese travelers, but has lost a great deal of its appeal recently to Japan and South Korea. Nonetheless, it still draws crowds during Golden Week.
  • Japan: Having experienced close to 100% percent growth in Chinese tourist arrivals, Japan saw 400,000 Chinese visitors that spent $830 million in the country during last year’s Golden Week. An interesting note: Japan’s buzzword of the year was bakugai, or 'explosive shopping', which was used to describe the behavior of Chinese tourists. Unfortunately for Chinese shoppers, the yen has strengthened in 2016.
  • New Zealand: Expects record year in 2016 for Chinese tourism, which already broke a record with 330,000 Chinese visitors in 2015.
  • Australia: has welcomed over 1 million Chinese visitors in the last 12-month period, with 23.2% percent year-on-year growth. Its marketing efforts and strong brand image in China certainly help, but perhaps the most important reason behind Australia’s recent Chinese tourism success is the cheaper Australian Dollar.
  • United Kingdom: The Brexit has thus far played to the UK’s advantage as far as tourism is concerned. The pound sterling took a tumble following the referendum, making shopping in London suddenly seem like a bargain. At the same time, the UK has yet to officially leave the UK, making crossing the border to and from other EU countries no more difficult than it was before the referendum.
  • France: "Chinese travelers’ favorite European destination has unfortunately had a rough 2016 with high-profile terror attacks that have resulted in a many prospective Chinese visitors opting for other destinations that are perceived safer," as Jing Daily reported in September: "With interest in Paris already dwindling, Chinese locals there protested in the streets last week after a Chinese tailor died of injuries from being mugged. This followed an incident where a group of 27 Chinese tourists on an airport bus were tear gassed by thieves ... Chinese tourist numbers to Paris were down 5.7 percent in August, and the city has suffered a major loss of revenue this year."

And, hot off the press, Daniel Meesak has just reported that, "Initial reports from Golden Week in Hong Kong point to a stronger Chinese tourism performance than last year, but Chinese holidaymakers are spending less and staying shorter amounts of time than in previous years."