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Chinese tourists help recovery of European tourism

Updated: Aug 22,2017 4:35 PM

The attacks in Barcelona last week have led to tourism site closures and public transport shutdowns, but insiders say the attacks had little impact on tourism.

And that could be the European tourism market in a nutshell. Not only Barcelona, but also the whole European tourism market seems to be recovering from the impact of terror attacks.

“I don’t think the attacks had great influence on tourism in Barcelona. There is barely tourists withdrawing from our package tours,” said Xu Penghuai, of a travel agency in Barcelona.

In the course of recovering, Chinese tourists might have become a major force — Chinese tourist arrivals to Europe rose 65 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2017, based on transaction data from Ctrip and Huayuan International Travel, two of major travel agencies in China.

A report on the trends of Chinese tourists in Europe in the first half of 2017, jointly issued by the China Tourism Academy, Ctrip and Huayuan International Travel, said that Europe is the third most popular destination for Chinese tourists, after Southeast Asia and East Asia.

The top 10 destination countries for Chinese travelers were Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and the Czech Republic, according to the report.

France’s Le Figaro reported that Paris hotels have received 215,000 Chinese tourists from January through April, a 40 percent increase from the same period last year. The UK has seen 54,000 Chinese tourists in the first quarter, up 27 percent year-on-year, based on VisitBritain.

And reports from Global Blue showed that about 500,000 Chinese tourists went to Spain in the first half, and their spending accounted for 33 percent of non-EU tourists’ spending in Spain.

The boom in Chinese tourist arrivals to Europe also reflected a more balanced tourist structure. Second- and third-tier cities have accounted for 50 percent of all Chinese tourist arrivals to Europe, increasing 80 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

Based on that performance, analysts projected that the arrival of Chinese tourists to Europe this year will reach 5.5 million.