The Chinese are heading to Europe in ever-greater numbers to celebrate their New Year this week (February 4-10). Bookings to European Union destinations are ahead 9.2% compared to last year. The substantial increase in visitors is well above the global average which is 0.2% up on 2018.
Chinese tourists appear to be undeterred by the relative slow-down in the Chinese economy, and any concerns about the effects of Brexit, welcome news for the European travel industry including retail outlets.
The EU welcomes an early crowd of Chinese travelers two weeks before the Golden Week in 2019. For these visitors, there are two distinct types of holiday: either, travelers celebrate New Year with an extended visit to the EU, or they take an off-peak trip and head back to China for local celebrations during the Golden Week.
The EU northern region shows the biggest jump on last year with bookings ahead 19%. Only the central and eastern part of the EU is lagging, behind 3.7%. The EU excluding the UK shows an 8.1% jump in bookings.
The latest figures show that the EU-China Tourism Year 2018, championed by The European Travel Commission (ETC) to promote Europe as a destination to the rapidly-growing Chinese market, continues to deliver success.
Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, the agency that researched these latest findings, commented: “Chinese tourists clearly still have Europe at the top of their favorite long-haul destinations. The marketing initiatives to bring them here have been impressive and they’re paying off. So far neither the Chinese economy slow down, nor Brexit, have been a deterrent so it’s fair to say that Europe’s travel industry is set to celebrate Chinese New Year.”