For the past few weeks we have been providing information on the behavior and trends of Chinese FITs. Past articles may help with understanding better how to target and plan for these visitors accordingly.

China’s Inbound & Outbound Tourism

The long awaited October National holiday in China has finally passed and the data from the travel has shown some interesting insights into their different types of trends and behaviors.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism domestic tourism in China gained a total of 726 million trips indicating 9.43% year-on-year increase during the October National Day Holiday. It resulted in 599.08 billion yuan (change to euros) of revenue. Although peak season to go on “Red” tourism and “leisure” tourism, many Chinese cities found an astounding increase in tourism revenue.

Shandong ranked first in tourism revenue with 53.55 billion yuan while Shaanxi was the most visited province with 70.02 million trips. Among the top 15 provinces, 11 of those provinces had a total tourism revenues exceeding 30 billion yuan.

Thanks to a requirement to lower ticket prices by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, over 40% of travelers went to cultural and educational sites such as museums, art galleries, libraries, and science and technology museums. These scenic state-owned spots cut their ticket prices from 10% to up to 30% to boost tourism during the golden week significantly.

This year’s October National Holiday season was also very significant for many European business owners as well as travelers. Mid-Autumn Festival (September 24th) was luckily positioned closely with the golden week holiday. This led to many Chinese tourists planning their trips earlier, allowing for a 16 day vacation period with the golden week. It is estimated that the number of Chinese travelers who left during this time soared by more than 30% from last year.

Here is a summary of some outbound tourism statistics with some of the highlights for your business to consider and plan accordingly the next golden week or big holiday to target Chinese outbound tourists.

The Overview

According to the Ctrip October National Holiday Report 2018 Chinese travelers visited more than 1000 destinations in 100 countries. Of those, around 42% of travelers went with their families, 56% were females, and 36% of total travelers were in the 1980s age group. The greatest amount of departures and spending was focused on first-tier cities with more than half of all tourists traveling for periods longer than a week in Europe. With the establishment of new flight routes from Chinese cities such as Sanya, Wuhan, Xi’an, Chengdu, and Beijing, the United Kingdom also had a large influx of Chinese travelers coming in this holiday season. However, as outlined in many of our articles, younger Chinese FITs don’t only focus their travels on top tier cities or shopping. This trend was seen throughout the National Day Holiday with numerous tourists flocking to lesser known locations to partake in unique cultural and social activities.

Consecutively, younger travelers chose their destinations based on a comprehensive criteria rather than just the number of attractions or the quality of the location. The criteria included dining options, leisure activities, accommodation, as well as transport which acted as key factors in their decision. The coordination of these factors can be vital to establishing an effective promotion for businesses. Hence, diversity in such options can help to meet the needs of a wide range of travelers. However, it’s important to note that the growth of outbound tourists gambling in the VIP and premium-mass segments did not receive as much growth as forecast. Themed travel also saw a great increase with Chinese FITs that want a rich and unique local experience with travel searches for Croatia seeing a year-on-year growth of 142% as a result of World cup fever. During this time, Chinese travelers participated in 35 different categories of tour activity with the most sought being sky diving, cooking classes, scuba-diving, helicopter tours, off-road racing, and hot air balloon rides.

Finally, there was also a vast increase in bookings of some of the ShaketoWin partners museums including the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemusza Museum in Spain, and the Van Gogh Museum networks in the Netherlands , Belgium and France which shows future potential for travelers interested in more cultural and creative activities or locations.


The highlights and the overview of the golden week holiday season of 2018 showed some very compelling data and potential for the future golden week seasons. Inbound tourism saw a massive growth with many travelers visiting cultural sites. This October National Holiday being coupled with the Mid-Autumn Day Festival also brought on a reason to be ready among foreign businesses dealing with Chinese FITs. Certain sectors of the tourism industry saw massive increase of such travelers and some did not. Traveler data and preference also revealed that activity based travel has been increasing and expanding rapidly to more countries. Although the article does not comprehensively cover this truly golden holiday season, additional articles that focus on other sections of this holiday will be made available in the future.