China’s stock market crash and economic slowdown appear to be keeping globe-trotting Chinese tourists closer to home, potentially hurting the global travel industry and the luxury goods companies that have thrived on free-spending tour groups.
Growth in international travel bookings from China fell in August for the first time since at least 2010 and continued to decline through September, despite the start of a big holiday week, according to ForwardKeys, a Spain-based travel intelligence company that analyzes Chinese airline booking data. The decline came after China’s summer stock market rout.
Airlines appear to have responded with price cuts to attract travelers. For the Christmas and New Year period, round-trip tickets from Beijing and Shanghai to popular Chinese destinations such as New York, San Francisco and Paris are now available on Qunar.com for as little as $250 before taxes and surcharges. This appears to be significantly lower than in previous years.
Until now, Chinese outbound travel had been seen as a rare bright spot in China’s economic downturn. Growing wealth and friendlier visa policies from Europe and the U.S. have helped China to become the largest source of global travelers, with more 100 million Chinese crossing borders in 2014, according to the World Tourism Organization.
Source: Wall Street Journal