Some 18 million Chinese nationals travelled abroad during the three-months from April to May, marking a 12.5 per cent increase on the previous year.
With only 15.8 million arrivals in the Greater China region from mainland China in quarter two of 2016, more journeys are being made to destinations beyond Greater China (53.3 per cent of the total) than within the Greater China region (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), for the first time.
Drawing upon its internal research, COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute has calculated that a total of 33.8 million border crossings were made from Mainland China in quarter two of 2016, representing a 4.32 per cent year-on-year increase of 2015’s equivalent figure of 32.4 million.
As was the case in quarter one of 2016, growth in total Chinese outbound journeys has slowed to single digit year-on-year figures, where double-digit results had previously been the norm.
While overall growth in Chinese arrivals continues to be sluggish, focusing on this total figure misses a number of more significant on-going trends within Chinese outbound tourism.
Within the arrival decrease seen within the three Greater China destinations, for example, Macau has in fact seen modest year-on-year growth of 0.9 per cent in quarter two of 2016, as the region attracted 4.8 million arrivals from the Chinese Mainland.
This follows 2015’s drop-off in arrival numbers amidst the Beijing government’s targeting of gambling as part of its anti-corruption campaign.
On the other hand, as Greater China continues to see its arrival numbers suffer, COTRI data shows that other regional short-haul destinations are booming. South Korea, for example, registered a record 2.1 million Chinese arrivals in quarter two, representing a year-on-year increase of 36.3 per cent.
For long-haul destinations, COTRI research reveals a more mixed picture.
Amid security concerns following a number of high-profile terror attacks over the past year, Europe has seen sluggish growth in Chinese arrivals, with some destinations even reporting lower numbers of Chinese tourists than in quarter two of 2015.