Gross Income from Tourism in China 93 Trillion Yen, Domestic Travel Grows but No Change in Foreign Travel
The gross income from tourism in China in 2017 was 93 trillion yen (5.4 trillion yuan), an increase of 15.1% from the previous year. In terms of gross combined contribution to the GDP, it was 9.13 trillion yuan, equivalent to 11.04% of the GDP. Economic site “China Securities Journal” and multiple online media sources such as “NetEase” have published analysis articles based on the China National Tourism Administration’s “2017 Tourism Market and Contribution Data Report”.
The domestic market is promising in general
There was a high growth in the domestic tourism market in 2017. The total number of domestic travellers was 5.001 billion, an additional 12.8% compared to the previous year. Among them, the total number of urban residents was 3.677 billion – up 15.1% from the previous year, while the total number of rural residents was 1.344 billion – up 6.8% from the previous year. The income from domestic travel was 4.57 trillion yuan – up 15.9% from the previous year, of which the consumption by urban residents was 3.77 trillion yuan – up 16.8% from the previous year, and the consumption by rural residents was 770 billion yuan – up 11.8% from the previous year. The separation into urban and rural figures is on the basis of Chinese statistics.
In comparison to the high overall growth, the performance of the domestic listed travel agencies is somewhat unsatisfactory. Among the 37 listed companies, 25 have released quick reports of performance or forecasts. The details claimed that 2 companies had increased profits, 6 had returned to profitability, 1 had decreased profits, 2 had gone into losses, 2 had first-time losses, 5 were (still) in losses, and 5 had increased losses. 8 out of 25 companies seem to be able to record profits, less than a third of the total. With the younger generation at its core, “independent travel”, which allows one to assemble their own itinerary, has become popular and will probably lead to less earnings by existing travel companies.
According to the China National Tourism Administration, the number of people employed directly in the tourism industry is 28.25 million, and the number of people including those employed indirectly is 79.9 million, corresponding to 10.28% of the total working population.
Low growth for inbound
Let’s look at foreign travel in terms of inbound travel. The total number of immigrants was 139.48 million, reaching an increase of 0.8% from the previous year. The annual income from international tourism was 1.234 trillion dollars, which was up 2.9% from the previous year. The consumption by foreign nationals in China was 69.5 billion dollars, up 4.1% from the previous year.
The number of foreign passengers entering a country in 2017 was 42.94 million, with Asia comprising 74.6% of the total. Among them, 47% were entering Hong Kong, 9% entering Taiwan, and 8% entering Macau while the so-called Greater China region comprised 64%.
Europe comprised 13.7%, the Americas 8.2%, Oceania 2.1% and Africa 1.5%. By gender, men comprised 60.7% and women 39.3%. By country, the order was Myanmar, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Russia, USA, Mongolia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.
Looking at the purpose of travel, tourism/recreation comprised 37.1%, employment 14.8%, business/conferences 13.3%, visits to relatives/friends 2.6%, others 32.3%.
Outbound growth also weakens
How’s the outbound going? In 2017, the number of Chinese nationals leaving the country totalled 130.51 million, an increase of 7.0% from the previous year. It has seemingly been increasing for a long time.
Between 2005 and 2015, the number of Chinese nationals leaving the country has increased 312.9%. It has continued to grow in double-digits every year. The growth rate has slowed to 4.3% in 2016 and to 7.0% in 2017.
On the other hand, there has been a high growth in the number of Chinese nationals visiting Japan – in 2016 it was 6.373 million, up 27.6% from the previous year, and in 2017, it was 7.3558 million, up 15.4% from the previous year. However, the total number of people leaving the country didn’t increase as much as the number of people visiting Japan. It was as if Japan was drawing the departure of Chinese nationals.
Domestic travel and trips to Japan grew greatly, but others not as much. Visitors are also mostly people from the Greater China region. The orientation of the Chinese may be becoming inward-facing. For example, over the past year, there has been a drastic decline in opinions critical of Japan. The impression received was even the sober “We don’t care about Japan any more”. It can be regarded as settling into the essentially Chinese tendency of not concerning oneself with others. We would like to observe the data on Chinese visitors to Japan in 2018.