China students big travel spenders

BRIGHTON, UK, 25 June 2021: Chinese students have more than UKP1.7 billion a year of disposable income to spend while they study in the UK,” says China Travel Outbound’s new research division’s head Helen Bailey.

She was speaking at the Chinese Tourism Leaders’ Forum earlier this week on the Chinese international student market. Her findings looked at why students chose to study in the UK and why they are so crucial to tourism destinations and attractions in the UK.

“Chinese university students want to immerse themselves in the UK and all that it has to offer. They want to experience places like a local and feel what it is like to live in the UK.”

The Forum, hosted by specialist travel PR agency China Travel Outbound (CTO) and Capela China, brought together the top 50 senior British travel executives who are key drivers of the inbound travel market from China.

Since the pandemic has put a temporary stop to the mainstream inbound tourism market, this year, the student market has shot into sharp focus.

As the single largest country of origin for international students worldwide, more than 600,000 Chinese studied overseas in 2018. 

In the 2019/20 academic year, nearly 142,000 Chinese students enrolled at UK universities, a rise of 56% over the past five years.

China is the biggest international market for UK universities and makes up 35% of all non-EU students. The UK has taken significant market share from the USA and Australia over the last two years due to political tensions between China and the USA and the closing of borders.

Chinese students have four times the disposable income of British students and prioritise their spend on travel, leisure, entertainment and fashion, all of which provide an essential boost to the UK economy.

China Travel Outbound managing director Helena Beard added: “The UK and European tourism industry needs to take heed of the growing numbers of Chinese international students to the UK and learn how best to tap into this affluent market and maximise on its vast potential.”

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