If you buy into the politically, culturally and commercially popular “Demographics are Destiny” theory – and not everyone does – you probably should begin learning Chinese. Korean would be good to learn, too, especially if you now work or expect to work in the future in the travel or hospitality industries.
That’s because Chinese consumers collectively spent nearly $258 billion on international travel last year. That’s more than twice the combined amount spent on international travel by people from the United States and Germany, the next two biggest-spending nations, combined. And the Chinese are relative newcomers when it comes to venturing beyond their nation’s borders. A smallish percentage of them travel outside of China each year, though given the size of that nation’s population even that small percentage represents well over 100 million Chinese travelers to foreign destinations.
Yet Chinese citizens flew, on average, just 65 miles last year vs. the 227 miles flown on average by U.S. residents, the 285 miles flown on average by Germans, the 271 miles flown on average by those from the United Kingdom, and the whopping 632 miles flown by the average Canadian last year.
That’s all according to a recent report issued by GetGoing Travel Insurance, one of the globe’s most prominent providers of short term travel insurance coverage.
What China’s high total spending on international travel and its low average number of miles flown on international travel tells us is that while only a relatively small percentage of China’s residents actually do travel outside their homeland, those who do spend a lot of money and don’t tend to go all that far. China has approximately 1.4 billion, making it the most populace nation on Earth. But it’s low average of miles travel on international trips is the function of two factors:
· A relatively small percentage of Chinese now have the financial ability to travel internationally, though the numbers who do travel outside of China are growing rapidly every year.
· A relatively large percentage of Chinese travelers beyond their nation’s borders stay relatively close to home. In fact, a big share of them go to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. They go there either to visit friends and relatives who live in those places that historically were – and in some cases technically are – a part of China, or to gamble in the casinos andor enjoy the entertainment venues in Macau and Hong Kong. Hong Kong attracted 44.5 million Chinese visitors, Macau 17.2 million and Taiwan 10.7 million.
Those numbers imply strongly that as more and more Chinese attain middle class status and the financial ability to travel internationally, and as Chinese become more and more interested in traveling visiting destinations farther and farther away from home their spending on international travel and the average distances flown will both rise exponentially.
American’s last year collectively spent about $135 billion on foreign travel last year according to the GetGoing report, for second place on the top 10 list of foreign travel spending. Germany ranked third at $89.1 billion. The rest of the top 10 include: the United Kingdom ($171.4 billion); France ($41.4 billion); Canada ($31.8 billion); South Korea ($30.6 billion); Italy ($27.7 billion); Australia $34.2 billion; and Russia ($31.1 billion).
Like China, South Korean’s average number of miles flown internationally is noticeably low. Right now that’s mostly because South Koreans’ most common foreign destinations are Japan, China, Thailand and the U.S. But as more South Koreans’ are able to afford international travel – as expected, given the strength and growth rate of that nation’s economy – and as they become open to venturing further away from home and to less obvious destinations, they too, like the Chinese are likely to see a large increase in combined foreign travel spending and international miles flown.
The Future of Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Increasingly Is Likely To Be Chinese – Forbes