Chinese tourist growth slowed by HK protests

The explosive growth of Chinese outbound tourist travel saw a slow down in 19Q3, which analysts said have been the result of ongoing civil unrest in Hong Kong, one of China’s most popular travel destinations. 

According to COTRI analytics, the third quarter saw 44.5 million border crossings from Mainland China, up 3.5 percent in 2018. The first and second quarter, however, saw double-digit growth compared to the prior-year period. 

The unrest in Hong Kong caused a 28 percent dip in arrivals from mainland China, translating to around 35 million visitors less. Most of this occurred in August and September. 

“Let us hope for everybody in Hong Kong, including our friends and partners in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, that the violence will end soon and peaceful ways to solve the existing crisis will be found,” said the analysts. 

According to COTRI, Macau suffered as well, with the increase in Chinese arrivals going to 10 percent, down from more than 20 percent in the first two quarters of 2019. 

Singapore, Japan, South Korea also saw a slow down in growth. However, Thailand and Vietnam appeared to have benefitted from the disturbance. 

The analysts noted that small countries also saw an uptick in growth in the quarter, with Bosnia & Hercegovina topping the list with a 77 percent increase. 

“The Chinese travelers can choose between more than ever destinations, with visa, connectivity, and language becoming less and less of a problem. The last quarter has clearly proved again that smaller destinations can be successful if they get their act together, whereas many traditional destinations have to work harder to attract Chinese leisure visitors especially to come back for a second time.”