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China’s Leisure Travel Market Has Basically Routed to the World’s First

The Leader in China Travel

China’s business travel market will not catch up with and surpass that of the United States anytime soon according to China’s economic volume and business activities, but China’s leisure travel market has essentially become the world’s first. Pressured by slowing growth of China’s economy, China tourism will hopefully be the country’s saving grace.

Liangjianzhang, CEO of Ctrip (one of China’s largest online travel platforms) and entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience in online travel, said in an interview with CNBC on April 10 that the slowing growth of China’s economy will not affect China’s booming tourism industry. He remarked, “We are very optimistic because the growth rate of tourism is much faster than other industries, whether from a macro point of view or from the demand.”

As the world’s second largest economy, China’s economic growth of 7.4% for 2014 did not meet expectations of the government for the first time since 1998, and was the slowest growth rate in the past 24 years. Just last month, the Chinese government in turn lowered 2015′s economic growth forecast down to 7%. Under the pressure of sustained deflation and a cooling real estate market, the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates twice within three months.

In contrast, domestic tourism which is still in its incubation period, made an outstanding performance with increased income and enthusiasm for foreign tourism.

China Tourism Academy posted its Tourism Economic Analysis for the first quarter of 2015 as well as forecasting for the first half of 2015. It reported that the tourism economy of the first quarter is generally stable. The first half of this year, the total number of tourist reached 20.6 million passengers with 1.7 trillion RMB in tourist income, an increase of 10.8%, of which outbound passengers is expected to reach 62 million in the first half, an increase of 17%.

Liangjianzhang said to CNBC that, in fact, cooling real estate and manufacturing investment may make people spend more money on leisure consumption, such as tourism. Weixiaoan, Secretary of leisure Travel Branch of the China Tourism Association also thinks the slowing growth of the Chinese economy will not affect China’s tourism industry, noting “Tourism will not spend you a lot of money anyway, it’s not like you are going to buy a big house or make a serious investment, most people do not think traveling is a burden on economy.”

Both China’s business travel and leisure travel market are anticipating faster growth. The report made by Global Business Travel Association this March announced that China’s consumption in business travel is likely to overtake the US as the world’s largest market by the year 2017.

However, Weixiaoan thinks China’s business travel market will not catch up with and surpass the business travel market of America in the short run according to China’s economic volume and business activities. “My judgment comes from two points,” said Weixiaoan, “First, China’s 1.3 billion population and second, the per capita GDP of more than 7,000 US dollars, these two datas together will make China’s leisure travel market a definitely striking growth.”

World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predicts in a report released this March that by 2025, China will be one of the major countries with fastest growing of tourism GDP.

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