Increase in Chinese visitors outstrips global average

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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.

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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.”