European Travel Commission publishes Long-Haul Travel Sentiment Survey report on visitors from China
22 November 2017

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Data come from a survey of around 8000 Chinese outbound travelers to Europe.

Key findings:

Top 10 European destinations for China outbound travelers in 2017:

  1. France 61%
  2. Germany 37%
  3. Italy 28%
  4. UK 24%
  5. Switzerland 22%
  6. Netherlands 17%
  7. Spain (14%)
  8. Austria 14%
  9. Greece 13%
  10. Sweden 12%

Age differences:

  • Chinese travelers aged 18-34 made 5% more visits to the UK in 2016 and 2017 vs. 2015.
  • Travelers aged 35-49 made 4% more visits to Denmark in 2015-2017 vs. previous years.
  • Travelers aged 50+ made more visits in 2016-2017 to Switzerland (+9%), Italy (+8%), Germany (+7%) vs. 2015.

Party size:

  • Couple 49%
  • Family 14%
  • Friends 11%
  • Solo 8%


  • Full package tour (travel, accommodation, excursions, etc.) bought from operator or agent 37%
  • Round trip (e.g., flights) bought through operator or agent 34%
  • Travel/accommodation package bought through operator or agent 27%
  • Holiday planned/booked entirely by traveler 17%

Transportation modes used during European holiday:

  • Air 29%
  • Train 10%
  • Bus 8%
  • Car 8%

Top 3 motivations for visiting Europe (mentioned by 10% or more of survey respondents):

  1. Enjoy natural landscapes 24% (26% of women, 23% of men)
  2. See famous landmarks 17% (men and women about equally)
  3. Learn about history and culture 14% (16% of men, 12% of women)

Significant differences in interests of oldest travelers (50+) vs. youngest (18-34):

  • 50+ were more interested in natural landscapes/scenery, history and culture, landmarks.
  • 18-24 were more interested in active holiday experiences and diving into the local lifestyle.

Barriers to European holidays for the Chinese:

  1. Cost 40%
  2. Lack of time (too few vacation days) 14%
  3. Put off until a later time (why? unknown) 10%

Popular competing (non-European) destinations (2015-2017 data):

  1. Oceania 36%
  2. South Asia 35%
  3. North America 21%

Caveat from the ETC:

“The survey is not meant to quantify prospect demand levels.”

[I’m thinking: why else would you do this??]

There's plenty of actionable stuff here for tourism destinations in the Americas as well as those in Europe.

None of it's awfully surprising, but its good to see confirmation of other, earlier research.

I'm disappointed that the researchers seem not to have asked any questions about terrorism or safety issues - because we know from independent research that this is a major concern for Chinese outbound travelers.

Interesting that significant numbers of Chinese respondents said they had too few vacation days to be able to take a trip to Europe. I hadn't heard that before - will look into it and get back to you.

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David Boggs    - David
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