China Economic Update: October 2019

Taking flight: China is changing the global tourism market.

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Key highlights

  • There have been dramatic changes to the global tourism industry over the past two decades, as China has emerged as a major source of international travellers. A range of factors have contributed to this trend, including the growing wealth levels of Chinese residents, increasing transport linkages with international markets and an easing in international visa requirements for Chinese tourists. The long term growth potential for Chinese tourism is enormous, however the near term outlook is uncertain – given the income effects of the US-China trade war and possible policy responses.
  • China is unlikely to be able to deploy its tourism industry as a major weapon in the US-China trade war, given the far smaller role Chinese tourists play in the US tourism sector than they do in many Asian economies.
  • The long term potential for growth in Chinese international tourism is considerable. Estimates suggest that just under 9% of China’s population hold a passport – compared with around 40% of US citizens and 76% of the British population. Even a marginal increase in this share would allow a vast number of additional foreign tourists.

For further details, please see the NAB China Economic Update – October 2019