Australia comes out tops on Chinese travellers’ wishlist

  • For the second year in a row, the latest Hotels.com™ Chinese International Travel Monitor names Australia as the top country Chinese travellers want to visit, and one of the 10 most welcoming
  • Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane named among the world’s top 10 cities Chinese travellers intend to visit, with Sydney and Melbourne in first two positions
  • The Sydney Opera House and Queensland’s Heart Reef rate among the top 20 ‘must-visit’ global landmarks for Chinese travellers, beating even New York’s Statue of Liberty and the Tower of Pisa
  • Younger millennials and affluent travellers fuel a 20 per cent growth in Chinese outbound travellers globally
  • 80 per cent of Chinese travellers now use an electronic device to plan and book travel, compared with only 53 per cent last year

Sydney, Australia – 15 July, 2015: If you think you’ve noticed more Chinese sightseers on the streets, you’re not mistaken. According to global accommodation booking website Hotels.com, Australia has come out on top – for the second year in a row – as the most desired destination for Chinese travellers to visit in the next 12 months.

Sydney and Melbourne came in first and second places in the list of top 10 cities globally that Chinese travellers say they intend to visit in the next 12 months, with a fifth of all travellers putting Sydney at the top of their list. This puts Australia’s two biggest cities ahead of other major global cities like Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Brisbane made it to 10th position.

With the Australian dollar falling, more than 840,000 visitors from China arrived Down Under in 2014, representing an increase of more than 18 per cent on the previous year[1].

Top 10 countries Chinese travellers say they would like to visit in the next 12 months

Rank Country
1 Australia
2 Japan
3 France
4 Hong Kong
5 South Korea
6 USA
7 Maldives
8 Germany
9 Thailand
10 Taiwan

Top 10 cities Chinese travellers say they would like to visit in the next 12 months

Rank Country
1 Sydney
2 Melbourne
3 Paris
4 Hong Kong
5 Tokyo
6 Hokkaido
7 Seoul
8 Kyoto
9 Jeju, South Korea
10 Brisbane

Chinese travellers continue to take the world by storm, with their numbers up 20 per cent in 2014 to a staggering 107 million[2], and there’s seemingly no stopping the rising tide. According to forecasts, outbound Chinese travellers could number around 174 million in four years’ time, spending about US$264 billion annually. This is roughly equivalent to the GDP of a developed country like Singapore[3].

What’s more, they’re younger, more independent-minded and tech-savvy – and increasingly cashed-up.

Credible insights from travellers, hoteliers and proprietary data

Surveying more than 3,000 Chinese international travellers and 1,500 hoteliers from around the world, Hotels.com’s annual Chinese International Travel Monitor examines the growth trends in mainland Chinese international travellers and the impact this is having on the global travel industry.

Lifetime landmarks

Apart from Australia’s two iconic landmarks named in the top 20, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Mount Fuji in Japan and Paris’s Eiffel Tower top their wishlist of ‘must-visit’ sites globally. The Red Centre’s Uluru made the top 50 at 41.

Top 5 foreign and Australian ‘must-see’ landmarks for Chinese travellers

Rank Landmark
1 Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
2 Mount Fuji (Japan)
3 Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)
4 Palace of Versailles (Paris, France)
5 Venice (Italy)
10 Sydney Opera House (Australia)
18 = Heart Reef (Australia)
18 = Statue of Liberty (USA)
41 Uluru (Australia)

The warmest welcome

Australia was rated by outbound Chinese travellers as one of the top ten most welcoming countries, adding weight to the reputation of the laidback, friendly way of life Down Under. South Korea was rated the most welcoming country, followed by Thailand and Japan.

Top 10 most welcoming countries for Chinese travellers

Rank Country
1 South Korea
2 Thailand
3 Japan
4 Singapore
5 Maldives
6 Hong Kong
7 Taiwan
8 France
9 Australia
10 Macau

Commenting on this year’s Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor, Katherine Cole, Regional Director, Australia, New Zealand & Singapore for the Hotels.com brand, says the Australian tourism industry has a huge opportunity at its fingertips. “This year’s report is another wake-up call for countries like Australia to pull out all the stops to accommodate Chinese travellers and tailor their services for this market, as the potential is huge.

Hotels.com recognises the expanding influence of Chinese millennial travellers, an increasingly more affluent Chinese traveller, and the explosion of the use of technology, in particular mobile, as part of the accommodation research and booking process,” Ms Cole said.

John O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia, said that China was now Australia’s most valuable market, in terms of visitor expenditure, with Chinese visitor spending up 19% in 2014 to $5.7 billion.

“One of the key findings in this report, supported by our own research, is that the Chinese rank Australia at the very top of their global travel wish list,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

Other key findings of the Hotels.com 2015 Chinese International Travel Monitor:

  • The average total amount spent per day by Chinese international travellers in 2014 was RMB 3,324 (A$678) including accommodation, with most splashing the cash on shopping dining and sightseeing. This compares with RMB 13,800 (A$2,817) per day for the top 10 per cent of Chinese travellers, who parted with 4 times more than the average. However, this pales into insignificance in comparison with the top five per cent of spenders, who shelled out RMB 20,896 (A$4,265), over six times more than the average.
  • According to Hotels.com booking data, Chinese travellers were the fifth biggest spenders on hotel accommodation in Australia in 2014. In New Zealand, Sweden and Argentina, Chinese travellers were the biggest spenders on accommodation.
  • In the past 12 months, 80 per cent of Chinese travellers have used an online device including mobiles, desktops and laptops to plan and book travel, compared with only 53 per cent last year. Half of all Chinese international travellers now use apps on their smart phones to plan and book trips, up from just 17 per cent the year prior.
  • The Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor identifies the growing influence of Gen Y travellers – the so-called ‘millennials’ aged 18 to 35. Fifty-nine per cent of hoteliers surveyed say they’ve experienced an increase in Chinese guests aged 35 or under in the past year and they expect this trend to continue to grow. The growth is especially strong in the Asia Pacific region, where 78 per cent of hoteliers reported an increase.

To view the full Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor 2015, visit www.CITM2015.com

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Note to editors

  • For additional materials or to view the full Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor 2015 please visit CITM2015.com
  • Unless otherwise indicated, RMB-AUD exchange rates in this survey were taken on April 30, 2015 of RMB 1 = AUD 0.2041
  • Images and interviews available upon request:
    • Katherine Cole, Regional Director, ANZ and Singapore, Hotels.com

About the research

The Chinese travellers’ survey was commissioned during May 2015 by IPSOS, a world leader in market research, global market information and business analysis, to conduct a research study amongst a sample of 3,000 eligible respondents across mainland China. Minimum thresholds were set on key demographics such as age, gender and region to ensure a representative sample that would allow analysis of sub-groups. The questionnaire covered topics including, but not limited to, travel behaviour, booking methods and accommodation choices.

For the opinion of hoteliers, a global survey of more than 1,500 Hotels.com hotel partners during May 2015. Responses were received from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and the USA.

[1] Tourism Australia: Inbound Visitor Statistics YE14

[2] http://www.chinatravelnews.com/article/90046

[3] http://www.heritage.org/index/explore?view=by-variables