China / Society

Chinese tourists traveling more, but less satisfied

(CRI) Updated: 2014-07-11 15:38

Tourism numbers here in China, both domestic and outbound, have reached new highs through the first half of this year. But industry analysis is suggesting Chinese tourists are also becoming less satisfied with their travels.

New data from the China Tourism Academy shows more than 2 billion trips have been made by Chinese citizens in the past six months. The number of outbound Chinese tourists has already surpassed 50 million this year, an 18-percent rise compared to the first half of last year.

Dai Bin, dean of the China Tourism Academy, says on the surface, the numbers appear promising.

"Domestic tourism is the core of the Chinese tourism industry. But due to the changing habits of Chinese travellers, its hard for us to forecast the outlook for the domestic market. At the same time, outbound tourists have reached 54 million, and their spending has increased around 20-percent to over 70 billion US dollars so far this year. Outbound tourism, to a large extent, is a gauge of consumption among China's middle-class. With domestic and outbound tourism combined, we can see clearly that China's consumer base is getting stronger."

Its estimated around 3.7 billion trips are going to be made by Chinese citizens this year.

Among them, 1.2 billion trips are likely to be made overseas, with spending expected to hit 155-billion US dollars.

Despite this, new signals are suggesting Chinese tourists are becoming more particular and less-satisfied with their travel.

Dai Bin explains.

"The tourist satisfaction index score only came in at 73 in the second tourist season, which is comparatively low. The reason for this appears to be a lack of information about destinations, limited time and failed expectations. Tourists are also complaining a lot about traffic congestion. This year on the Badaling Expressway leading to the Great Wall in Beijing, the congestion extended 55 kilometres. We've also found the weather and smog in Beijing is also seriously affecting tourists."

China, became the world's biggest tourist market last year, surpassing the United States and Germany to top the overseas tourist destination list.

With the rise of the middle class here in China, more and more Chinese people are looking to spend their money travelling abroad.

But the new analysis is suggesting Chinese travellers going overseas are becoming a bit more tentative.

Professor He Qiongfeng with the China Tourism Academy suggests one of the main reasons for this is the disparity between people's expectations and the realities they face once they hit the ground overseas.

"The first concern is tourist services, particularly when it comes to travel agencies and tour guides. The second concern is public services, mainly transportation. Of course, it has something to do with people's unfamiliarity with local subways and roads. And international driver's licenses are also a big concern. The third is a lack of Chinese signage abroad. And the last one is the overall cost."

The China Tourism Academy also notes regional issues are affecting outbound Chinese tourism.

Concerns about personal safety and disputes among China and some of its neighbors are said to be limiting Chinese tourism in the region.

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