Chinese outbound travel bookings to Europe are down in 2016

Chinese outbound travel bookings to Europe are down in 2016

- in Travel

croissant countries

According to new booking analysis, less Chinese are traveling to Europe. The study reveals that Chinese outbound travel bookings to Europe are 7.7% down over the period from mid-November 2015 to mid-October 2016. However not all countries see drop in arrivals.

ForwardKeys who analyzed 14 million booking transactions a day says that the ‘Croissant Countries’ are very substantially down whereas other parts of Europe are substantially up.

Olivier Jager, ForwardKeys Co-founder and CEO, said: “The terror attacks in France have frightened off visitors from China. As many Chinese tour itineraries include the neighbouring countries – Benelux, France, Germany and Italy – they too have lost Chinese visitors. The geographic area can be described by putting a croissant over the map of Europe which is why we are calling them the Croissant Countries.”

The cities which have been worst affected are Paris and Milan, with bookings down by 23.4% and 25% respectively. They are followed by Rome and Venice, down 17% and 18% respectively and then by Frankfurt and Zurich both down 11%. However, Spain, the UK and northern Europe, which are outside the croissant zone, have grown the number of visitors coming from China. Barcelona and Madrid are up by 11% and 9% respectively, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Stockholm are up by 9%, 6% and 2% respectively. The UK has done particularly well, no doubt assisted to some extent by a favourable exchange rate; London is 7.8% up and Manchester 27% up, the latter benefitting from new air routes. Dublin is up 37%.

Looking at travel more broadly from the whole Asia Pacific region to Europe, Istanbul and Paris have been worst affected, with bookings down by 27% and 24.4% respectively. They are followed by Milan, down 17%, Rome down 11% and Venice down 12%. The cities perceived to be safe are up. Copenhagen is up 14%, Helsinki is up 13.1% and Stockholm is up 12%. Moscow has done best of all; it is up 23% on last year, thanks to new-found popularity with Chinese visitors, as a consequence of a favourable exchange rate and diminished enthusiasm for France this year.

Drilling down to look specifically at France, the countries in the Asia Pacific region have been down by 24.4% since the beginning of November last year. Booking patterns reveal that terrorist incidents have contributed to substantial declines. After the Paris attacks on November 13th until the end of the year, bookings fell by 78.2%; after the Brussels airport attack in March, bookings dropped by 29.4% and after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice bookings fell 21.1%.

 forwardkeys china bookings2016

Breaking out the impact by country origin market, the people most put off from visiting France were visitors from Malaysia and Japan, with bookings down 52.9% and 50.9% respectively. The largest origin market, China, is down 23.4%. Some hope of recovery may stem from India, a large source market for France, where bookings were down by only 2.3%. The substantial positive jump in booking from Iran reflects the lifting of sanctions.

Analysis of future bookings to France from the Asia Pacific region reveals that in the period through to the end of the year, bookings are currently running 21% behind where they were at the equivalent moment last year.

Olivier Jager concluded: “As would be expected, bookings are also running behind for the other croissant countries.”

The full report can be downloaded here:


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