European destinations need to come up with new strategies to attract Chinese tourists.
Europe may not see a tourism comeback from one of its key source markets: China. Chinese interest in traveling to Europe has dropped, according to a survey released Tuesday by the European Travel Commission.
Only about 57% of Chinese tourists surveyed said they intend to travel to Europe in 2024 – that’s down from 71% in 2023, according to the European Travel Commission.
One of the drivers for the decline was a preference among Chinese to travel within Asia. The preference comes as several Southeast Asian destinations relax their visa policies. Thailand and China, for example, agreed on a permanent visa waiver this year.
Destinations with simplified visa procedures have a distinct advantage with Chinese tourists, said Boon Sian Chai, managing director and vice president of international markets for Trip.com, at Skift’s Global Forum East in December.
Chinese tourists also cited financial concerns and limited vacation time as why they aren’t planning to travel to Europe.
Europe Needs Tourism from China
Before the pandemic, China was a vital tourism market for multiple European destinations. For the UK and Netherlands, for example, it was a top source market.
“China has been our most important source market from Asia and that is only at 50% of pre-Covid levels,” said Jos Vranken, managing director of Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, in December.
In the UK, Chinese tourists were the second-highest spenders behind Americans before the pandemic, said VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates.