Whilst China has become the world’s most important outbound tourism market, spending an estimated $258bn on outbound travel in 2017 (UNWTO figures), the country’s domestic tourism spending was up 15.9% on the previous year, at $720bn.

Becoming especially popular is rural tourism, with domestic travellers spending around $200 billion in that sector in 2017, and this year rural tourism packages are up by 50% in July and August over the same period last year. However, city trips are still most popular with trips to the most developed cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen growing in visits and spend. There is also a growing luxury market at home, attracting interest from Chinese travellers now not forced overseas for prestigious resorts or brands.

This article discusses how northern European and US destinations in particular need to work to attract independent Chinese travellers away from their own countryside and wilderness and the high-end resorts and retail attractions at home.

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