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It’s official: China is currently the world’s largest outbound travel market

China is currently the world’s largest outbound travel market

Photo: beer5020 /123RF

In 2018 alone, Chinese tourists made 150 million trips overseas, an increase of 14.7% over the previous year, and accounted for approximately one-fifth of global international tourism expenditures, with $277 billion. And because only 10% of Chinese citizens have traveled internationally, analysts see plenty of room for future growth.

Cruise liners have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of this growing appetite for international travel. Although cruises are a relatively new concept in China — Italy’s Costa line became the first company to offer passage from China in July 2006 — business boomed over the ensuing decade.

Chinese passenger counts grew by an average of almost 80% per year between 2012 and 2016; that year, the country overtook Germany to become the second-largest source of cruise ship passengers worldwide, after the United States.

But there are signs the industry has begun to flounder. In 2017, cruise operators reported a notable slowdown in consumer demand.

Last year, even as the government unveiled an ambitious plan to nearly triple the number of cruise passengers embarking in China’s ports from under 5 million to 14 million by 2035, the country’s cruise market actually shrank by 1.1%.

Source: Sixth Tone

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