China - RTO 9



Adult Population

  • 1.146 billion

International Tourist Departures

  • 130.5 million (2017)

Ontario Market Performance

Total Visitor Spending $759.3 million (2016)

Overnight Visitors 252,000 (2016)

Market Conditions

  • A rebalancing of the economy is expected to result in a gradual moderation of growth over 2020. While further trade threats could negatively impact the Asia region as a whole, there is optimism that a US-China trade deal can be reached soon. Despite the challenges, overseas travel demand is expected to continue growing.

Consumer Insights

  • Currently, the top visitor source markets are top-tier cities. China’s second and third-tier cities will be the primary drivers of economic growth and demand for international goods and services as per capita incomes rise.
  • There are four cities identified as first-tier (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou), and 12 Chinese cities as second-tier (Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Tianjin, Xangzhou, Xi’an, Suzhou, Nanjing, Dongguan, Xiamen, Kunming, and Qingdao). China’s remaining cities were labeled as third-tier or lower.
  • People aged 25-44 made up 58% of all outbound travelers in 2016. This segment of the market prefers to rely just partially on organized tours, or even fully on free and independent travel (FIT).
  • The number of travelers aged 45+ is expected to increase. These travellers see iconic attractions as important for a person’s status and they want to see as much as possible. Prestige is an important push factor since travel is still a new and exciting activity that they can share with friends via social media platforms.
  • 85% of Chinese international travel is to a major city destination and travel peak periods are January-February, June-July and October. In South Eastern Ontario, Chinese visitors arrive more consistently throughout the year with a notable peak leading up to October when Golden Week takes place.
  • Internet research is the top reason for choosing a holiday destination and social media is a growing driver in influencing bookings. Chinese celebrities share their holiday experiences on flagship social networks such as Weibo and WeChat and they are seen as reliable opinion leaders and influencers.
  • Travel agents still play a vital role in China, especially among the first-time outbound travellers as they offer more convenience and value, and help them address any language barriers, visa preparation, or knowledge gaps.
  • Mobile payments are now an integral part of Chinese consumer culture.

Sources: UNWTO, China National Statistics Institute, Destination Canada, CIA World Factbook, China National Tourism Authority, Brand USA, Statistics Canada, Ctrip