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China This Week 19.10.2023

Last week we discussed the quantitative side of the October Golden Week holiday 2023 with regards to the development of domestic and outbound tourism. In this week’s Topic of the Week we continue the analysis by looking at the qualitative changes which became apparent, confirming in many ways the trends seen already before the pandemic and in domestic tourism, reflecting to a large extent the different way the economic situation of China really is, as well as how it is perceived by Chinese consumers.

Many media continue to rather confuse than clarify the understanding of new trends among Chinese outbound travellers. For example, Bloomberg started an article about decreases in consumption last week by stating: “Mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong used to flaunt Hermes handbags in shopping malls for social media photos. These days, the most popular kind of post is a tourist holding a McDonald’s takeout bag.”

Obviously there have been both kinds of Chinese visitors before, and later in the article the fact that Chinese consumer now can buy more luxury brands in Hainan Duty Free and that the Hong Kong Dollar is 5 % dearer for RMB holders than before are mentioned. Still, for the total picture in domestic tourism the article keeps the line of saying that the glass is half empty: “The total (sales) were only slightly better than in 2019 before the pandemic”. Well, at least they were higher than before the pandemic, a fact everybody has been waiting for. Available figures for outbound tourism in 2023 also indicate that the spending per person per day is already higher than in 2019.

As usual, the COTRI weekly Editorial is included in the free part of the new content of this edition, together with this text “China this week”, the News and the COTRI News. For the Topic of the Week, the Deep Dive consulting and the Facts and Views we invite you to consider a Premium or Premium Plus subscription and we offer a special welcoming subscription for one month with a 59% discount here: https://cotri-intelligence.ghost.io/welcoming-offer.

The world is still holding its breath, hoping that the attack of Hamas on Israel and the reaction after the declaration of war by the Emergency government of Israel does not develop into an even bigger and bloodier conflict and that the number of civilian casualties on both sides does not further rise. China has offered to help with negotiations. It remains to be seen if their activities are getting much attention. Of course, the fate of the tourism industry in Israel and the surrounding countries is not the key issue at the moment, still it is surprising to see that the UNWTO has not issued as of Oct. 15th, 2023, any statement with regard to the worsening situation in the region. Only three weeks ago, Israel’s Tourism Minister Haim Katz visited Saudi Arabia for a UNTWO conference celebrating the World Tourism Day, becoming the first Israeli minister to lead a delegation to KSA.

In this week’s edition of COTRI INTELLIGENCE the Topic of the week, as mentioned before, looks at the changes in demand and behaviour of Chinese tourists during the Golden Week.

The Deep dive consulting text continues to look at trends in China’s outbound tourism by looking at the growing importance of Well-Being activities. At the GITF 2024, COTRI will organise four “villages” giving also smaller companies and destinations the opportunity to exhibit at the most important tourism fair in South China. Well-being will be one of the four topics together with Education, Outdoor Activities and Sustainable Tourism.

Reflecting growing sophistication and the rise of disposable incomes in recent years, there is a growing demand for high-quality healthcare services, relaxation retreats, and wellness-focused activities as part of the changing preferences and lifestyles of Chinese tourists, who are becoming more health-conscious and seeking transformative experiences. In China, this not only involves elderly consumers, but also middle-aged urbanites living a stressful life.

Facts and Views looks at the younger generation, especially Gen Z and their different reactions to the increasing competition for jobs and careers, from hippie-style drop-outs to a new interest in esoteric rituals and magic and how this translates to outbound tourism behaviour.

In the News section, you will find as always, selected news items about different aspects of the Chinese outbound market.

In COTRI News new information about the GITF 2024 is available.

Enjoy this week’s new content and the growing library of previous articles!