The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) has raised its estimate for Chinese border crossings for 2018 to 160 million following a strong-than-expected first half, with the Greater China region taking the lion’s share of the growth.
The group had originally expected 154 million border crossings this year, a gain of 6 percent.
In the first six months there were 80 million worldwide border crossings by Chinese passport holders, an increase of 16.4 percent, with particular strength in Q2.
Among these figures, the Greater China region (Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan) accounted for 36.7 million for the whole H1 2018 period, or 45.9 percent of the total.
In Q2, arrivals to Hong Kong grew 14.3 percent, while Macau’s share rose 13 percent.
With 2.1 million and 1.2 million Mainland arrivals respectively, Japan and Vietnam both saw year-on-year increases in Chinese visitors between April and June, establishing themselves as the fourth and fifth most popular outbound destinations by volume of tourists, COTRI said.
“As recently as Q2 2013, Japan had recorded just over 280,000 Chinese arrivals, meaning that 2018’s equivalent figure marks a sevenfold increase in only half a decade,” it adds.
South Korea also showed a strong rebound with numbers up 52 percent to 1.1 million, however, COTRI points out that the numbers are still significantly lower than the 2.1 million seen in Q2 2016 before Beijing banned tour groups to the country in a political spat over Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S. anti-missile defense system.