by Mark Elterman

As we witness the the rapid growth of Chinese travelers to the USA, and especially since they just hedged out the UK as the top inbound California market for the first time in 2013, many industry segments are getting prepared. More shopping centers specifically targeted to the Chinese traveler are popping up all over Los Angeles. Tour operators are catering more and more to this market. What’s more, as the Foreign Independent Traveler (FIT) market grows and return visits increase, their focus is on discovering new destinations and venturing out beyond the gateway cities. What are you doing to prepare?

Due to the rapid growth (and even more rapid change) of the Chinese outbound travel category, and having lived and worked in China for several years, I wanted to do a blog on travel trends and marketing tactics to capture this growing, unique market. Along with the exponential growth of this travel market, Mental Marketing has stayed on top of ways to visualize reachable objectives, strategize meaningful tactics and realize noticeable results when targeting this group. Our good friend and Mental strategic partner Jonathon Reynolds from Chichaku Marketing specializes in the Chinese Market. He recently compiled some great data that shows the impact of Chinese travelers expected in  the the next year, with the eye on predicting whether this trend is going to last.

Outbound Stats

According to the China Tourism Academy, the total outbound overseas Chinese travelers grew by 18% over the year prior to more than 98 million. The same report projected the total dollar amount spent in the US at $118 billion, smashing yet another previous record of $102 billion established in 2012, which propelled China to the top spot, edging out Germany and U.S. in outbound travel.

“Next year is looking to be the biggest increase ever – especially in the Outbound Chinese FIT travel market” Reynolds says. “The growth of this market is something never seen before in tourism. It truly is staggering as far as the numbers go; however, it is not a difficult market to reach if the right steps are taken.” The continued outpouring of Chinese overseas travelers is not a unique trend within the Chinese travel market. Domestically the Chinese have also been on the move. An estimated 3.3 billion tourists traveled within China’s borders and spent $430 billion in the past year.

As for the upcoming year, the China Tourism Academy, among other industry experts, is predicting another year of growth in the mid-teens (16% – 18%) for the Chinese outbound market. The prediction will put the total number of outbound travelers solidly beyond the 100 million mark.”

So, my question is, are you ready?

Mark Elterman is the CEO of Mental Marketing and specializes in creating strategic marketing plans that fit the size and shape of your business. With a background in publishing, he understands the importance of content marketing and the ever changing digital world. Also, he speaks broken Mandarin when needed.

Sources: China Daily , Skift ,  Want China Times , Forbes,  Chichaku Marketing