400 million Chinese outbound by 2018?

400 million Chinese outbound by 2018?

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I had to read this news twice. I’m sure at some point in future the Chinese outbound numbers will be astounding but by 2018? Hype or reality?

Even the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has the news clipped on their website:

The 2013 Annual Conference of Boao Forum for Asia opened on the morning of April 7th in Boao, Hainan. President Xi Jinping said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony that China will continue to promote friendship and partnership with its neighbors and ensure that its development will bring even greater benefits to its neighbors. It will strive to promote the development and prosperity of Asia and the world. In the coming five years, China will import commodities worth around US$10 trillion, invest US$500 billion in foreign countries, and have probably over 400 million tourists traveling abroad.

In this video the Chinese news media CCTV covers it as well. China Daily further quotes Wu Wenxue, a senior official from the China National Tourism Administration: “The number of Chinese outbound visits is expected to exceed 400 million in five years (ie by 2018).

According the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute the 100 million mark could be reached by the end of 2013. To get to 400 million outbound by the end of 2018 that implies a compound annual growth rate of 30%. Possible? Likely?

Whether it happens by 2018 or beyond that’s still a massive figure. What’s the implication for Asia’s coastal tourism and resort destinations?

Take note Phuket is already the top resort island destination for Chinese visitors and they are the largest group by numbers. A new Chinese consular office will be open in Phuket just to manage its citizens traveling issues.  By mid of 2013 an estimated half million Chinese visited Phuket. Even a million Chinese arrivals for the whole of 2013 is still extremely small when compared against a 400 million outbound.

Can destination development catch up?

Which of Asia’s emerging coastal resort destinations will benefit most from this influx?

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